Congestion pricing tolls could be over $30 a day for Clark County workers
for Clark County Today
Federal law generally prohibits tolling existing lanes on an interstate freeway, unless new lanes or bridges on the interstate are being added. Oregon has an “exception” which Congress authorized a few years ago. Currently, Oregon is looking to implement several different types of tolling on Portland-area freeways, including a ‘per mile” charge as part of a congestion pricing scheme.
Clark County has over 75,000 citizens who earn a paycheck in Oregon. The bridge tolls and especially the per mile tolls would be financially devastating to thousands of Southwest Washington residents. Economist Joe Cortright has estimated the combined tolls could be as much as $28 to $31 a day for round trip travel from Vancouver to Wilsonville.
Congresswoman Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-05) is listening to her constituents and is introducing legislation to prohibit tolling on I-5 and I-205 in Oregon. The No Tolls on Oregon Roads Act would rescind federal tolling authority granted to states specifically on Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 in Oregon. As a result, the legislation would prevent the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) from proceeding with any tolling projects along these two roadways – effectively blocking tolling from being implemented along these interstate highways in Oregon.
“Oregonians are understandably fed up with the state’s attempt to hastily implement tolling, and I want to give drivers peace of mind by making the current ‘pause’ permanent,” Chavez-DeRemer said. “By blocking tolling along I-5 and I-205, my No Tolls on Oregon Roads Act would protect our communities from traffic congestion, save families from paying a regressive tax, and support businesses by keeping transportation costs lower. As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Highways and Transit Subcommittee, I’ll continue working closely with my colleagues to put a stop to this unfair interstate tax.”
Joe Kent, a candidate in Washington’s Third Congressional District, praised the effort.
“Excellent leadership by Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer. I will gladly co-sponsor this legislation.” Kent said federal taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to further tax the people of Washington and Oregon, or inhibit interstate commerce.
The congresswoman made an appearance on the Lars Larson radio show Wednesday.
“We’ve been hearing about it for years. People are frustrated and it was time to step in and do something where people have said we need help.” She spoke about people feeling their input has been ignored by ODOT. “I wanted to introduce the bill that will kill tolling on the roads in Oregon, specifically to I-205 and I-5,” she said..
The No Tolls on Oregon Roads Act prohibits the use of federal funds for tolling on I-5 and I-205 and prohibits the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) from approving I-5 and I-205 tolling projects.
“This is ODOT and the FHA, who have worked together to get this bypass, for them to authorize a way to collect tolls on Oregon drivers,” she said. “It simply is another path that ‘s going to be a r