RTC — Take a Stand Against Oregon’s TOLLING Scheme

Oregon legislators call for immediate TOLLING due to increased costs of ridiculous “community redevelopment” project, aka I-5 Rose Quarter Project

My remarks to the Feb. 4th Regional Transportation Council Board.

HERE.

My original remarks to the RTC regarding Oregon’s HB2017 were in June 2017, 2 1/1 years ago.

Nearly two years ago, I came before this body and discussed Oregon’s TOLLING legislation. I was stunned that it had NOT been discussed. Why wouldn’t my RTC Board want to be informed and to make input regarding that legislation?

Roughly 6 weeks later without input from the RTC, TOLLING “beginning at the border with Washington”, was passed by the Oregon legislature.

We had 74,000 Clark County citizens pay $221 million in Oregon income taxes in 2017. Another 44,000 “other” WA citizens paid $104 million, of which the majority were likely from Skamainia and Cowlitz Counties.

Now Oregon wants to pick the pockets of SW WA residents to pay even more, via their outrageous TOLLING scheme. Ultimately, Oregon wants to TOLL ALL highways and freeways in the Metro area, including I-5, I-205, I-84, I-405, US 26 & 217.

Even more incredible, is ODOT’s Rose Quarter proposal which adds NO new through lanes to I-5. It was originally $450 Million. HALF that money was going to “community redevelopment”, building two concrete lids over I-5 and a bike/pedestrian bridge.

Today the project has ballooned 70% to $795 million. There are calls to “beef up” the 2 concrete lids so real estate can be built on top, at an added cost of $200 – $500 million.

Oregon legislators want to IMMEDIATELY implement TOLLING in order to cover the increased costs rather than pull the plug on the “community redevelopment” parts.

SW WA citizens should NOT be funding Oregon’s “community redevelopment”. Transportation money should NOT be used to create real estate. WE here in SW WA should never pay for it. Will you come out against funding Oregon’s “community redevelopment”? Will you come out against Oregon’s TOLLING scheme?

As I have told you in the past, on Seattle’s I-405, fully 43% of TOLLING dollars go to the cost of collection. That is an outrageously expensive way to pay for transportation. The gas tax costs under 1% to collect.

TOLLING will cause HUGE numbers of people to divert onto side roads and into neighborhoods. ODOT told the TOLLING Policy Advisory Committee that 80,000 vehicles currently divert, due to the lack of vehicle capacity. If TOLLING is implemented on ALL of I-5 & I-205, an additional 50,000 vehicles would divert.

Think about that – 130,000 vehicle diversions is almost the number of vehicles that cross the Columbia River each day using the Interstate Bridge!  When Oregon imposes TOLLS on all area freeways, the number of diversions onto side roads and into neighborhoods will only increase, causing a huge nightmare for local families.

Take a stand against Oregon’s TOLLS!