IP-4 will guarantee a Vote Before Tolls
By Tootie Smith
Plans are underway to toll the essential freeways we rely on every day in Clackamas County for our transportation needs, but we can stop it!
Some people might not know this, but the Portland metropolitan area is already under study for tolling on both I-5 and I-205. If implemented, this would be the largest tax increase in the history of Oregon.
Our commission teamed up with the Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development to draft a 36-page technical letter outlining the deficiencies with the I-205 Toll Project Environmental Assessment.
Ultimately, our technical letter led to the governor declaring a two-year pause on tolling. That’s a good start.
However, we now need everyone to do their part and sign IP-4, a constitutional amendment that will require a regional vote before any new toll is imposed. We stopped it but they are still full steam ahead to force tolling on us.
Signatures are being gathered right now for IP-4 (Initiative Petition 4). IP-4 is a constitutional amendment, meaning it can only be changed by another vote of the people. This will keep politicians from deciding to change this policy without our permission.
There are many reasons why permanently stopping tolling is important. Any toll would act as a regressive tax on working people who are simply trying to commute to their jobs to support their families. Tolls would limit mobility and regulate the movements of private citizens.
Some low-income residents would undoubtedly be forced onto public transit. Because most of Clackamas County is rural, that’s just not practical. Tolls will adversely affect the daily lives and pocketbooks of vulnerable citizens.
Our local residential areas will also feel the effects. Traffic patterns of side and residential roads will be forever altered, and none of them are prepared to handle that.
But perhaps worst of all is that there are no guarantees that any revenues raised through tolls will ever go towards improving roads or adding capacity. There will be no accountability whatsoever for how that money will be spent.
For years, bureaucrats have been treating tolling as a predetermined outcome, but we are not giving up. We can stop tolling with IP-4 but we need your help.
In order to get IP-4 on the ballot, we need to gather 200,000 signatures by June 2024. For more information, and to download a petition, go to www.NoTolling.com.
Tootie Smith is chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners.