PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - The Oregon Transportation Commission is moving forward with a plan to toll drivers on parts of Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 in the Portland metro area.
After a year-long process, the commission has a draft for an application to submit to the federal government.
Next week, the OTC will review the application and decide whether to submit it to the Federal Highway Administration.
The Oregon Department of Transportation said during a study period of 2013 to 2015, congestion grew significantly, with delays and crashes increasing over that time.
ODOT officials believe tolls would ease congestion and raise revenue for construction projects aimed at congestion relief.
The application would ask for federal approval to toll a seven-mile section of I-5 from North Going Street to Southwest Multnomah Boulevard, along with a section of I-205 in and around the Abernathy Bridge in the Oregon City area.
“This is not an easy conversation to have because it's very new to our state and our region, but we think it's a very important conversation to have because we have a system where we are running out of resources and we're undergoing some significant growth pains,” said Alando Simpson, OTC Commissioner.
ODOT officials said there would be variable rates that would be higher during peak travel times, but a specific amount for those rates have not been set.
Officials said there will also be plenty of opportunities for public input on concerns regarding low-income drivers, needed improvements to mass transit and how to lessen the possible impact to neighborhood streets.
While the application is the next step in the process, possible tolling would still be years away.
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