ODOT asking public for ideas on possible toll plans - KPTV - FOX 12

ODOT asking public for ideas on possible toll plans

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Oregon's new transportation bill, which could place tolls on some Portland freeways, has faced some backlash, and Monday officials heard from the public about the proposed plans.

The Portland Area Value Pricing Advisory Committee held a meeting Monday to discuss future developments of Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 at the Oregon Department of Transportation offices located at 123 N.W. Flanders Street.

The $5.3 billion package was passed by the Oregon legislature and signed by Governor Kate Brown earlier this year, and under the bill, tolls could be added to I-5 and I-205, though no plans have been formally set.

Cross-state commuters from both Oregon and Washington’s would pay the tolls, and critics have said the money collected from these could be used to fund road improvement projects south of Portland, an area most daily commuters from Washington never access, though ODOT officials contend that no decisions have been made on how revenue would be allocated.

Some of the different ideas the committee may consider include opening up carpool lanes for tolls for non-carpool drivers, setting a variable toll on a new or converted highway lane or tolling lanes on an existing freeway.

ODOT officials told FOX 12 they are working with city officials on both sides of the river, adding that tolls are proven to help ease congestion in major cities.

“There are a lot of different cities across the country that have implemented tolling and value pricing,” ODOT Assistant Director Travis Brouwer said. “In the Seattle metro region, they have been very successful in using various types of tolling including peak-hour value pricing to address congestion and to help pay for transportation projects.”

ODOT has a deadline of the end of 2018 by which they have to submit a proposal for approval by federal officials.

Another public meeting on the plan will take place on December 7, and more information on the project is available online at Oregon.gov/ODOT.

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