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.