Category Archives: Media

Educating citizens on Oregon’s TOLLING plans

Where’s the Value?

Citizens need to understand what Oregon is proposing in their “Value Pricing” TOLLING plans.

Sadly, there is no “value” for the over 70,000 SW Washington citizens who commute to Oregon for work on a regular basis.

Here are my comments at the January 30th ODOT Open House for Clark County citizens, held at the downtown Vancouver library.

Clark County Today did a great write up on the ODOT Open House.

Camas resident John Ley said that there are many reasons why a majority of Clark County citizens are against value pricing. The approximately 70,000 Clark County residents that commute to Portland each day would “be paying more than their fair share of those tolls,” Ley said.

“Their whole goal is to inflict some financial pain and to find a point where if there’s enough pain people will get off I-5 and I-205,” Ley said. “Well where are those people going to go?” he asked, noting that forcing commuters off of the interstates will move them onto side streets that are already congested, thus making the problem worse.

Ley also expressed concerns about the collection of tolls. “Once they get the tolls started, they never stop,” he said. Ley asked whether the roads will be tolled at times of the day when there is no congestion, and cited a value pricing program in Virginia last fall that still had drivers paying $5.50 at 5:30 in the morning.

“We want something that improves congestion,” Ley said. “They’ve got to fix the real bottleneck on I-5 and that’s the Rose Quarter.”

According to Ley, the state of Oregon wants to spend approximately $450 million to address the highways in the Rose Quarter, but not add any new thru-lanes to the interstates. “That’s a sad waste of money,” he said, and noted that approximately half of the money would go to “community redevelopment,” such as services for bikes, pedestrians and transit.

The complete Clark County Today news report can be read here.

I then called the Lars Larson show from Tokyo three days later. I listen via the internet when flying trips for Delta. Here’s a recording of our conversation.

Oregon TOLLING plan is a money grab

Letter: Oregon tolling plan is a money grab

By John Ley, Camas
Published: February 3, 2018, 6:00 AM
(The Columbian published my letter here.)


The problem with Oregon’s tolling plan is there’s no “value” in Oregon’s proposal for Southwest Washington residents. They are adding zero new through lanes on Interstate 5. They are adding zero new through lanes on Interstate 205 until you get to the Oregon City area.

There is no alternative route for Southwest Washington residents to drive if tolls begin “at the border.” Furthermore, the side roads are already congested because Oregon has refused to add new lanes and new capacity for roughly three decades.

Finally, Oregon is going to spend $450 million at the Rose Quarter, but will add zero new through lanes. Half of that $450 million will be spent on “community redevelopment,” as they build two new “lids” over the top of I-5 at the Rose Quarter.

Sadly, this is just a money grab that will only harm the working poor. They’ll be forced to pay expensive tolls and/or drive the congested side streets, wasting even more hours in one of the nation’s most congested cities.

Oregon wants the 70,000 Southwest Washington drivers who daily cross the Columbia River to pay for Oregon’s infrastructure improvements. But these hardworking Washingtonians are already paying more than their fair share, paying millions annually in Oregon income taxes.

RTC Board fails to take a stand against TOLLS

Our RTC Board refused to stand AGAINST the Oregon “Value Pricing” TOLLING plan

At the Dec. 7th, 2017 Regional Transportation Council (RTC) Board meeting, one Board member offered a letter for the RTC Board to send to Oregon officials. It stated our RTC was against the unfair Oregon plan to TOLL both I-5 and I-205 at the border.

Sadly, they refused to add the letter to their agenda.

Here are my comments to the Board about what happened and my disappointment on behalf of the citizens of SW Washington.

Clark County Council

Following the RTC Board meeting, the Clark County Council held their Board meeting.

I addressed them during the public comment period. You can here those comments and additional details regarding TOLLS here.

Virginia TOLLING — $34.50!

Virginia I-66 TOLLING ripoff

Local DC area news reports of a new effort to reduce traffic congestion in Virginia has drivers in a tizzy. Paying $8.50 at 5:30 in the morning on an empty road.

Here’s a local TV news report on TOLLING gone bad. TOLLS later rose to $34.50!

A second news report:

An advocacy group is calling for the suspension of tolling on Interstate 66 inside the Beltway after some drivers during the first morning of dynamic tolling had to pay up to $34.50.


The advocacy group The 66 Alliance called on Monday afternoon for the tolls on I-66 to be suspended, saying that “Northern Virginia commuters have been sold a bill of goods” by Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne.

Founder Greg Scott said in a statement that Layne had predicted “for years” that round-trip tolls on I-66 between the Beltway and D.C. would run about $17 per day. He claimed that he paid $21 to go one-way from the Beltway to the Roosevelt Bridge. He extrapolated that to project that he would pay about $10,000 a year in tolls.

“The 66 Alliance calls on VDOT to suspend the I-66 toll program immediately and for the Virginia General Assembly to investigate VDOT, Secretary Layne and the I-66 toll program before the program is permitted to be re-launched,” Scott said.

Where’s the “VALUE” in Oregon’s value pricing?

Ley fights for Clark County citizens and the poor

The first of six meetings of the ODOT “Value Pricing” (Tolling) Policy Advisory Committee met Monday, Nov. 20th. At the end of the meeting, 10 minutes were set aside for citizen comments.

The alleged “goal” of the committee is to create TOLLS on I-5 and I-205, and find a toll price level that causes people to STOP using the two interstate highways. When enough people move OFF the freeways and onto side roads or take mass transit (their real goal), then traffic congestion will supposedly be reduced.

Taken to it’s logical conclusion, they want to inflict pain on drivers, causing them to change their behavior. Who will respond to that pain? The poor, who can least afford the tolls.

Then there are the 70,000 plus Clark County drivers who daily use either I-5 or I-205 to cross the Columbia River into Oregon to go to work. They have no other options. They can’t use a side road.

Here are my remarks.