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.