State DOT News

Comment period opens on using tolls to raise funds, improve travel on I-205

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Comment period opens on using tolls to raise funds, improve travel on I-205

Online survey open Aug. 3 through Sept.16

August 3, 2020

For more information, contact:  Michelle Godfrey, michelle.d.godfrey@odot.state.or.us, 503-986-3903

 

PORTLAND -- ODOT launched an online survey Monday seeking public comment on five preliminary alternatives for tolls on Interstate 205 around the Abernethy Bridge.

The toll alternatives, released Monday, launch a federally required environmental review process and a 45-day period for public comment. These are the first steps that will lead to selection of a toll system in the corridor.

Each of the five alternatives would toll all lanes of I-205 between Stafford Road and OR 213 to raise revenue and improve travel reliability. The revenue could help pay for highway improvements along the corridor.

“We know tolls on I-205 will be a big change for our community, which is why it’s so important to share your opinions now,” said Lucinda Broussard, ODOT Toll Program Director. “Your comments about how tolls affect you and your community are critical to inform how we add tolls to the highway and which alternatives to study in the next phase of analysis.” 

Before March 2020, an average of 100,000 vehicles traveled Interstate 205 every day in the corridor, leading to more than 6.5 hours of delay and costing our economy $2 million each day. As the risks of COVID-19 are reduced, we expect a return of traffic congestion. ODOT proposes all-electronic, variable-rate tolls to manage this congestion and generate revenue for needed transportation improvements to keep people moving into the future.

Tolls are one tool we will use to improve the transportation system. Tolling I-205 improves traffic as some drivers adjust their travel times to pay a lower toll and free up space on the highway, optimizing the system for all.

With no tollbooths, drivers will not stop to pay a toll. A transponder, a small sticker placed on the inside of the windshield, is read and connected to a pre-paid account. If a vehicle doesn’t have a transponder, a camera captures the car’s license plate, and the registered owner is billed. This keeps traffic flowing.

ODOT will study options for how best to reach individuals who lack access to prepay tolls.

From Aug. 3 through Sept. 16, 2020, ODOT will host activities to ask questions, offer feedback, and learn about the project. Public feedback will help determine which toll alternatives to study in the next steps of the I-205 toll project environmental review process.


To connect directly with project staff, learn more about the project and share feedback go to:

Online engagement site:

English: http://oregonevents.org/openhouse/i205toll

Spanish: http://oregonevents.org/openhouse/i205toll-esp

Online survey form:

English: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5678377/ODOT-I-205-Outreach-OOH-Summer-2020

Vietnamese: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5678377/ODOT-I-205-Outreach-OOH-Summer-2020-viet

Spanish: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5678377/ODOT-I-205-Outreach-OOH-Summer-2020-esp

Chinese- simplified: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5678377/ODOT-I-205-Outreach-OOH-Summer-2020-chi-simp

Chinese -Traditional: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5678377/ODOT-I-205-Outreach-OOH-Summer-2020-chi-trad

Russian: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5678377/ODOT-I-205-Outreach-OOH-Summer-2020-russ

Upcoming webinars:

Wednesday, August 12, Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89143489336

YouTube: https://youtu.be/QjiFsa4fXOw

Tuesday, August 18, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84262854127

YouTube: https://youtu.be/vl5S4NF6_Jw

Thursday, August 20, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. 

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88524631481

YouTube: https://youtu.be/OkRqujrncHU

Project email: oregontolling@odot.state.or.us

Project voicemail: 503-837-3536


Background

In 2022, the Federal Highway Administration, in cooperation with ODOT, will decide which alternative to implement based on the analysis conducted, existing policy and guidance, and community and stakeholder feedback. This decision, identifying the placement of gantries will assist with setting up the toll system. Tolls could begin on I-205 as early as 2023.

The goal of the I-5 and I-205 Toll Projects is to manage congestion and generate revenue to fund bottleneck relief projects, as directed by the Oregon Legislature in 2017. House Bill 2017 committed hundreds of millions of dollars to address congestion and improve the transportation system in the Portland metro area and around the state, including freight rail projects, transit and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The bill also directed the Oregon Transportation Commission to implement congestion pricing, also known as variable rate tolls, on I-5 and I-205 in the Portland metro region to provide additional traffic management tools to further manage congestion.

In 2018, ODOT completed the Portland Metro Area Value Pricing Feasibility Analysis to study how and where congestion pricing could be applied. Community members shared their opinions as part of the feasibility study, emphasizing a need for improved transit and other transportation choices, and that ODOT should work to reduce negative effects to neighborhoods from people who choose to avoid tolls.

The community also emphasized that tolls should avoid negatively affecting low-income communities and communities of color. ODOT staff are addressing these equity concerns by:

  • Convening a group of national and regional leaders in equity to advise the project team and ODOT.
  • Conducting an equity training for project staff.
  • Drafting an equity framework to guide project decisions and engagement to create better transportation solutions for historically underrepresented and underserved communities.
  • Coordinating with community engagement liaisons to reach and hear from underserved and underrepresented communities.
  • Convening an Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee.

More information is available at OregonTolling.org.

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