March 7, 20230

Saturday March 4, 2023 — Oregon Catalyst

By Oregon State Senator Dan Bonham,

Tolls are imminent in Oregon as two new tolls are planned for I-205 early next year. I am a Chief Sponsor of a bipartisan bill to prevent tolls on I-205 and I-5. Here is one of the many recent articles about it.

In the case of the coming I-205 tolls, residents are correctly worried that instead of taking the freeway, people will clog city streets and impact commerce. For my district, this would happen in Canby and rural Oregon City.

Many residents are still stunned we are even at this point. So how did we get here?

The history starts in 2017 when legislators approved HB 2017, a transportation package that included tolling.

From there, the legislature directed the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) to investigate tolling on Oregon’s major I-5 and I-205 freeways.

In 2018, the OTC applied to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to request clarity and continue the process of implementing tolls in Oregon.

This application was followed by guidance from the FHWA in 2019. 2020 brought an ODOT-led initiative to engage with and educate Oregonians regarding an I-205 toll project.

In 2021, the legislature passed a bill requiring ODOT to study income-based rates before tolling could be implemented. Gov. Kate Brown signed HB 3055, which provided financing options for the “I-205 Improvements Project”, slated to begin in the summer of 2022. In 2023, ODOT released a draft of the environmental assessment of I-205 tolling.

Bringing us to today, with the earliest I-205 tolling beginning in 2024.

John Ley

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