Staff controls TOLLING process rather than 25 PAC committee members

Why isn’t the 25 member Policy Advisory Committee being listened to on ODOT’s TOLLING policy committee?

 

The 4th of six ODOT “Value Pricing” Policy Advisory Committee meetings occurred April 11th. I had prepared 3 minutes of “citizen comments”. Speakers were restricted to 90 seconds. Below is the video of my comments. Below that is the text of the full 3 minutes I had hoped to share.

Why is the STAFF, rather than the 25 PAC members, controlling this process?

At the end of the Feb. 28th meeting, PAC members are getting up from the table and leaving. An ODOT staffer says: “we didn’t reach a consensus”. She then asks: “did we get enough input to move forward?” You don’t see or hear the answer, but the person asking says “okay”. The meeting ends. Who’s in charge? It’s not the PAC members.

 

At the Feb 28th PAC meeting, the ODOT staff and hired outside consultants, recommended narrowing the options down to four major choices, and one minor (unlikely) choice.

NONE of the 25 PAC members got to vote or rank their preferences for the original eight options before they were reduced. Why not?

It would have been very easy to give each PAC member a one-page copy of the original 8 “options” and have the PAC rank them 1 to 8, in order of priority. Their “voice” and their priorities would have been formally considered. They would have formally known their fellow PAC members priorities. But no. Instead, the STAFF told the PAC members which options were most or least important.

During the meeting, several PAC members asked that other options be included. Their request was not heeded.

At the beginning, a PAC member stated that one of the options NOT moving forward appeared to have the best possible outcome in reducing traffic congestion.  This was Option 4 – build a new lane in each direction on both I-5 & I-205, and only TOLL those new lanes. But STAFF didn’t include Option 4 in those recommended for further study and evaluation.

We were told this wasn’t advancing due to the “astronomical cost”. Yet when PAC members asked what the cost was, so THEY could use their judgement and also report to their constituents, there was none. No cost estimates were created. Who’s in charge? Not the PAC members.

Several PAC members asked for traffic diversion information. One told us 50,000 vehicles are presently diverting to side roads. It’s a safety issue for neighborhoods. We know TOLLS will INCREASE traffic diversion. Yet no diversion analysis was done on the eight options before they were reduced.

Who’s in charge? Not the 25 people around this table. How sad for the citizens and taxpayers.

With HALF your meetings behind you, we now know that you want to change people’s behavior and alter how or when they travel our two interstates. Why doesn’t GOVERNMENT show the working citizens how easy it is to “change our behavior or travel patterns?” Why don’t government workers shift their work hours for example, from noon to 9 pm? Let’s see how that impacts traffic congestion. You expect taxpayers to change their behavior and travel, why don’t you change yours?

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PAC member Paul Savas (Clackamas County Commissioner) addresses the issue later in the meeting.

 

 

PAC member Paul Savas says Ley comments regarding the Feb. 28th PAC meeting were “spot on”.