No need to toll I-5 Bridge Replacement
By John Ley – Portland Tribune letter
As the Oregon legislature and governor haggle over funding transportation, there is no real need for tolling on the Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR).
The IBR has only a “conceptual design.” It’s impossible to know the cost of any specific component, let alone the entire project.
The updated cost ranges from $5 billion to $7.5 billion. Have you ever seen a public works project with a 50% cost variance? A $5 billion project has no need to borrow $1.25 billion.
Both states are presently funding another bridge over the Columbia River for just over $500 million at Hood River. If the DOTs can build a bridge higher than 116 feet in Hood River for $530 million, they should be able to build a 6-8 lane IBR for $1 billion.
In a previous communication, the IBR team reported the bridge component would cost $500 million.
With Oregon and Washington fully paying their portion of the roads and interchanges in their states, and the Federal Highway Administration paying for more than the cost of the bridge replacement, there is no need to borrow money, paid back by tolling revenues.
It’s truly that simple.
If the legislature and Governor demand a cost effective project, there is no need for tolls, which people in both states do not want.
The Oregon Transportation Commission’s 2019 survey reported only 3% of people liked tolls. IP-4 is likely to kill tolling in Oregon, once and for all.
John Ley is a resident of Vancouver, WA.