No tolls or ‘congestion pricing’

Fighting Oregon’s plan to TOLL both I-5 & I-205

My letter published in the July 5th Columbian, the day the Oregon House passed HB 2017, and the day before the Oregon Senate passed it.

Oregon legislators thought Southwest Washington citizens should pay tolls on both I-5 and I-205 to fund their transportation package. But the word got out — citizens are outraged. The rumor is they’re backing away from this proposal.

What’s their new “revenue” scheme? Congestion pricing. You know, the disastrous policy the Washington State Department of Transportation enacted on Seattle’s I-405. Citizens pay up to $10 to drive in the HOV lane, avoiding the congestion nightmare WSDOT’s policy created for everyone else. Yet, Seattle has the 10th-worst congestion in the nation.

OPB reports: “The measure orders the Oregon Transportation Commission to move forward with implementing variable tolling in conjunction with major freeway projects on interstates 5 and 205. The idea is that higher prices to use roads can manage congestion.”

The first problem is that it negatively impacts the low-wage worker much more than it does wealthy drivers. Our “progressive” friends are usually sensitive to these alleged “regressive” taxes. Next is that those using the nontolled lanes found driving times significantly increased — a negative impact for the average citizen.

Southwest Washington citizens have repeatedly rejected tolls. But as The Columbian recently noted, it’s particularly outrageous especially when there is no benefit for Clark County drivers.

Just say “no” to tolls and to “congestion pricing” by Oregon!