Paying a toll on a freeway we already own

I know the idea sounds kind of absurd, and in fact it is absurd. You’ve already paid for Interstate 5. You pay for it every time you drive up to the gas pumps and diesel pumps.

That freeway is already paid for. Yet, Tim Leavitt, the Mayor of Vancouver, a man I voted for, is now talking about what they call a “corridor toll”.

They can’t stomach the idea of just putting tolls on the I-205 and I-5 bridges. Now they want to charge everyone who wants to drive on the freeways. The problem is the people who drive on those freeways shouldn’t have to pay a toll. They’d be renting space on a freeway they already own and that’s just not right.

There is a solution to this bridge problem. The solution is to build the kind of bridge Minnesota built. Build it quickly. Build is simply. And, let’s leave the federal government and light rail out of it.

That’s the solution and we can pencil that out any day of the week.

“For more Lars click here”

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn Post to Reddit

Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 32 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Anonymous

    Tri Met users only pay 20% of the operating cost and none of the capital construction. And the new light rail to Vancouver will need around billion or so to build. Why shouldn’t transit users have to pay the full cost of the light rail line they demand.

    We need to stop taking auto and truck taxes (the Federal match) and spending it on transit and instead spend it on road capasity.

    We can build our way out of congestion as our population grows. Cars don’t cause congestion, population growth and density does.

    What we really need are planners that solve our congestion problems, instead of telling us we need to give up our fast door to door service, that takes us to where we need to be, when we need to be there.

    • Fred Thompson

      Congestion charging is a very effective way of reducing congestion. Prices work well to ration things that are scarce, like freeway space — certainly better than queues. They also tell planners where building additional capacity is justified — when we are willing to pay for it. Lacking this kind of information, we are all too often hostages to planners and their tastes, preferences, and biases.

      By the way, the state isn’t spending your gas tax money on light rail (the feds are, but that’s another matter) and right now the state lacks the funds to maintain the existing road net satisfactorily, let alone expand it. User fees in the form of congestion prices is a good source of funds. They are also harder to divert to other purposes. Residents of the Portland metro area pay over half of state gas taxes, but get back less than 40 percent. Congestion charges tend to stick where they are paid.

      Lars sounds like the granolas that object to paying for wilderness parking permits because they already own the national forests. They use wilderness facilities, but want the rest of you to pay for their maintenance.

      • Anonymous

        In the ODOT STIP (The Statewide Transportation Improvement Program) it states we spend millions of our state and federal resources on transit and transit related projects.

        Before we toll auto users or raise taxes of any kind on auto and truck users. We need to make transit self supporting by way of the fair box and bike riders should pay a tax for all the special paths, stripes and amenities they demand.

  • Matt Evans

    The root of the problem is the hostility elected officials seem to have for the private automobile – a mode of transportation most of them use almost exclusively but do not wish their subjects to use. If light rail could not exist, their emphasis would be on buses and bicycles. A secondary cause is the various rules and regulations – designed to benefit unions rather then taxpayers – which force governments to overpay for work on road construction and maintenance projects. The unnecessary increase in costs then forces governments to constantly be seeking new sources of revenue to build _any_ project.

    Most importantly, politicians are simply defying the market and the will of the people. Less than 3 percent of all trips are taken on any form of public transit. It simply is not wanted.

  • Britt Storkson

    That’s how government operates nowadays. They take your property and freedom and try and sell it back to you with the proceeds going to benefit government, not the public.

    One example: We (the taxpayers) own the major electric power utility distribution grid yet government sells power at very low rates to benefit private individuals while the average ratepayer (taxpayer) pays more to benefit certain private individuals.

    Another example: With land-use laws the government takes away your freedom but if you’re a winegrower and you spend enough money on lobbyists and politicians you get to buy some of your freedom back.

  • Anonymous

    Urban Travel Market Share from 1980 to 2007
    in the Portland urban area

    For every new transit user their are more auto users moving and living in the Metro area

    1980
    97.2% auto miles traveled
    2.8%transit miles traveled

    2007
    97.9% auto miles travled
    2.1% transit miles traveled

    see
    https://www.publicpurpose.com/ut-porshare.pdf

  • Bob Clark

    Maybe Leavitt is making a counter move to cause Portland cityhall to back down on its call for bridge tolls. The idea is a corridor toll would be damaging to the Jantzen beach mall and Delta Park areas as folks would tend to reduce shopping there and avoid the corridor toll. Portland cityhall might not like this consequence, and act to offer a lower rate of bridge tolling.

    If not for strategic negotiation purposes, Leavitt is yet another spineless politician. Anyways I wish the governors of Oregon and Washington as well as the federal government would remove the city of Portand and city of Vancouver from the negotiating table. This bridge isn’t just theirs. It belongs to the whole West Coast.

    The ideal bridge would be a complete westside bypass of Portland city altoghether, linking the Silicon forest and Hillsboro to Vancouver.

  • valley p

    Leave the federal government out of it? Brilliant. It happens to be a federal highway and a federal bridge, and the federal taxpayer is paying for most of it, but lets just leave them out. Whatever.

    Another point. No light rail, no bridge. That is the deal on the table. Metro and Portland will not support the project absent light rail. So deal with it or stay stuck in traffic.

    • jim karlock

      simple reject the light rail portion and the need for tolls goes away.

      If Metro and Sammy can’t live with that, we can start over. Should be quick & simple. Use existing studies, DEIS and just edit out all references to toy trains.

      see https://www.nobridgetolls.com

      Thanks
      JK

  • Rupert in Springfield

    What needs to happen is belief in Light Rail needs to become a litmus test for idiocy in politicians and appointees.

    Light Rail is the Pyramids. A senseless project that enthralls because of its size and scope, not its utility.

    Light Rail is Sasquatch – An idiotic belief that some just simply cannot drop even though all evidence contradicts their belief – excessive costs, low utility and abysmal ridership even at absurdly subsidized levels.

    If you are talking to a Light Rail believer, you are essentially dealing with the same mentality as UFO abductees or a Sasquatch slighter.

    • valley p

      Well, I’m a light rail user, not necessarily a “believer.” It exists, therefore I ride. Sasquatch and UFO abductees do not appear to have existence, so your tortured analogy is as usual not apt. But however you feel about light rail, the fact is there will not be a bridge built that does not accommodate it. You may think that unfair or unwise, but it doesn’t matter unless you can elect politicians who will give up on it. So deal with reality as it is or sit in traffic.

      • Anonymous

        If we build a new bridge with light rail on it. We will still be sitting in traffic, like we do along the first light rail line on I-84 and on the Sunset and now I-205.

        We can build our way out of congestion, as we grow the population, if we wanted to.

        Light rail has never reduced congestion, anywhere in the Metro area.

      • Steve Plunk

        Potemkin village is the best way to describe light rail. All appearance and no substance.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Well, I’m a light rail user, not necessarily a “believer.” It exists, therefore I ride.

        Actually you ride it because the fair subsidy exists not Light Rail itself. Were it to exist without the fair subsidy, you’d probably just simply hire a limo.

        >You may think that unfair or unwise, but it doesn’t matter unless you can elect politicians who will give up on it.

        Which is exactly what I was saying.

        Light Rail is demonstrably idiotic – it makes no sense to build it.

        Politicians who support it need to be pointed out as the fools they are – Sasquatch believers.

        The fact is Light Rail makes no sense to build. It has zero impact on traffic, costs a fortune, and even with absurd subsidy cannot attract ridership.

        I would think it far better to not build the bridge – than be extorted by idiots intent on wasting taxpayer money.

        Were the current bridge project to dissolve because of the Light Rail demands – those politicians who insisted on it should rightfully be blamed.

        People shouldn’t have to accede to idiocy to get a simple bridge built. You might not think thats fair, but it is logical.

  • Marla Hopper

    All I can say is that I don’t mind paying for the safe and secure passage of me and my family in our vehicles as we go over that big river.
    If we must pay to keep things safe and sound, then pay we must.
    I personally believe the better way to fund this situation would be an increase on the state gas tax.
    Anyway, all these people who hate our government should consider moving to Costa Rica or some other third world hell-hole and see if they like it any better.

    • jim karlock

      The better way to fund it is to drop the light rail and the un-needed intersection replacements.

      The cost then gets low enough that we don’t need tolls.

      Thanks
      JK

      • valley p

        “The better way to fund it is to drop the light rail and the un-needed intersection replacements.The cost then gets low enough that we don’t need tolls.”

        We also would not need the bridge, because cars would be stacked up so deep at either end a new bridge wouldn’t matter. Now THAT would save a LOT of money!

        • jim karlock

          *Dean Apostle:* (quoting JK) “The better way to fund it is to drop the light rail and the un-needed intersection replacements.The cost then gets low enough that we don’t need tolls.”

          We also would not need the bridge, because cars would be stacked up so deep at either end a new bridge wouldn’t matter. Now THAT would save a LOT of money!
          *JK:* Are you under the impression that a Billion dollar light rail line replacing buses that carry 1650 daily commuters will somehow reduce congestion?

          Or are you thinking that the interchanges are a source of congestion? For example, the Marine Drive interchange is a major congestion point, but only because it merges into the existing lanes. With 3 more lanes across the bridge, there is no need to merge. End of problem. 1/2 Billion saved! Just that simple.

          As usual you need to do your homework.

          See https://www.nobridgetolls.com/

          Thanks
          JK

    • Steve Plunk

      Marla, No offense but rather than move many of us prefer to stay and make this a better place. Everyone wants to travel safe but the state has proven itself a poor steward of our money.

      Our founding fathers recognized the nature of government and put in protections against it’s excesses. It’s not the people necessarily but the institution that is corrupt.

    • Anonymous

      If our state and federal government would stop diverting our gas taxes to light rail, streetcars, transit, bike paths and beautification projects, we would have enough money for this kind of project.

      They killed the west side bi-pass 20 years ago, that would have cost about billion dollars and include a new bridge across the Columbia river, for the billion dollar west side light rail, that solved nothing.

      Thanks Metro planers

  • Anonymous

    Lightrail, streetcars and bicycles – Wow! Oregon and Portland are leading the nation in nineteenth century technology. Insanity defined.

    • valley p

      So tell us which century the internal combustion engine was invented in.

      • Anonymous

        In what century was nuclear energy and finite analysis developed? What are their contributions to science and engineering?

      • Anonymous

        So tell us which century the internal combustion engine was invented in
        ———————–
        The automobile started out as a converted wagon and has become one of the best inventions. Automobiles have changes the way we live and allowed everyone to travel, not just the rich. Before the automobile is was not unusual for a person to live their entire life with in fifty miles from where they were born. The automobile made it possible for the poor and middle class to move out of smoke filled and polluted downtown areas by allowing them to live in a clean suburb. Away from the horse, sewage and garbage problems in the cities.

        Transit was very popular as we moved away from horse power, but the Automobile made it possible to go to where you wanted to be, when you wanted to be there, carrying the things and people you wanted.

        Bikes and transit were very popular and easier to use as we moved away from horses and before the automobile became affordable.

  • Robinwonders

    okay here is a scenario…

    for me to commute back and forth from my $10 an hour job cost me roughly$200 a month just in fuel.

    Now using Lar’s example on the toll cost of $3.50 per trip roughly seven dollars a day or $140 a month.

    Now for me to get back and forth to my $10 an hour job, I immediately have to shell out $340.

    In a state that is already suffering from high unemployment and a serious recession how is that even economically feasible?

    • valley p

      “In a state that is already suffering from high unemployment and a serious recession how is that even economically feasible? ”

      It wouldn’t be if we were all working for $10 an hour. I’m not being rude, but might I suggest you move somewhere closer to your employment, or find employment on the same side of the river you live on?

      The larger issue is whether we can afford to NOT build this bridge. I-5 is a pretty important west coast freight route, and a lot of jobs that pay more than $10 an hour are dependent on efficient transport. I would think you would support actions that help create more better paying jobs.

      • jim karlock

        *Dean Apostle:* It wouldn’t be if we were all working for $10 an hour. I’m not being rude, but might I suggest you move somewhere closer to your employment, or find employment on the same side of the river you live on?
        *JK:* Typical progressive – telling others how to live! (Because they would be hurt by a progressive’s social engineering scheme.)

        *Dean Apostle:* The larger issue is whether we can afford to NOT build this bridge. I-5 is a pretty important west coast freight route, and a lot of jobs that pay more than $10 an hour are dependent on efficient transport. I would think you would support actions that help create more better paying jobs.
        *JK:* Finally we agree. We need to build a bridge.

        Now tell us why you think we need to add a Billion dollar toy train for 1650 daily transit commuters.

        And tell us why we need to spend another Billion on interchanges?

        Thanks
        JK

        • Rupert in Springfield

          Holding a bridge hostage to politicians play things, like toy trains, is absurd.

          Scrap the bridge project and use its demise as a polticall tool

          Buy bill board advertising at congestion bottlenecks in the area. “If So and So hadn’t insisted on Light Rail – You’d be home now!”

          Campaign ads could be run poointing out the economic absurdity, how much a quarter billion dollars per mile really i, and linking those who insisted on Light Rail or nothing to something so ludicrous.

          The question could be raised at every news conference “Mr. So and So – could you explain the reasoning behind killing a bridge unless you got a quarter of a billion dollars a mile choo choo that carries virtually no one?”

          Frankly I think it would be a terrific campaign issue as corrupt and excessive government spending is something politicians are loath to be linked with right now.

          It would be far better to kill the bridge and do nothing than to give further incentive for to extortionists.

          Look at it this way – it started with siphoning off gas tax money to build bike paths. The extortionists were not satisfied.

          Now we are up to quarter billion dollar a mile toy trains.

          You think they wont be back with even more idiotic and expensive projects if the people give into to them?

          No way.

          If the choice is kill the bridge or accept extortion the choice is clear. Kill the bridge.

      • robinwonders

        “I’m not being rude, but might I suggest you move somewhere closer to your employment”

        I had a hell of a time just finding this job. As far as moving, I own a home and I had to file bankruptcy this year throwing away a 800 credit score in order to take ANY job that I could find.

        in addition, it takes money to move which I don’t have, and as I pointed out in an earlier post, make it more expensive to go to and from work isn’t helping.

        besides, after living over 45 years in Oregon, my family and I decided that if we are going to move, it’s going to be out of state.

        One final point… I did apply for work all over the state of Oregon and MOST employers would not consider you unless you live in the same city that they are in.

        as for supporting actions that would help create more jobs…in my opinion, there are a lot more feasible things that you can do than light rail which a small percentage of the population would use.

        For example, I used to own a business. And unless you’ve actually own a business you really have no idea of the taxes and fees that you have to pay,including personal property taxes on everything in that business including toilet paper [seriously]. It has been proven that if you cut taxes to put more money into circulation which creates more demand, more jobs, more businesses and creates more revenue for the government.

        although I will not argue the point that the I-5 could be wider to handle the traffic… based on my experience traveling the corridor I’m not totally convinced and that it is the bridge itself which is causing the bottleneck.

        • valley p

          JK writes: “Now tell us why you think we need to add a Billion dollar toy train for 1650 daily transit commuters. And tell us why we need to spend another Billion on interchanges?”

          Its not a “toy” train. Its a passenger train, and the reason I support it is because it moves people across the river without them having to drive. Duh!

          Its not an extra billion to provide the space for the train. Its more like 1/2 billion. As for interchanges, a bunch of them were already dropped to save costs. The total cost estimate is now between 2.5-3.5 billion. The interchanges remaining are presumably essential to having the traffic flow and local access required.

          Rupert writes: “Scrap the bridge project and use its demise as a polticall tool”

          My man Rupert. What a strategy! Trade 20 more years of stuck in traffic to win a few political points perhaps. Brilliant. Pop the champagne on that one.

          Robinwonders writes: “in addition, it takes money to move which I don’t have” and then “besides, after living over 45 years in Oregon, my family and I decided that if we are going to move, it’s going to be out of state.”

          So you can’t afford to move but you can move out of state? The light rail part of the project is not about “jobs.” Its about alternative ways for people to get around the region without having to drive. A way for people to get to jobs.

          “based on my experience traveling the corridor I’m not totally convinced and that it is the bridge itself which is causing the bottleneck. ”

          The bridge itself causes massive bottelnecks every time it is raised to allow ships to cross underneath, which I think is more than once a day. And it takes a long time for those bottlenecks to clear. The proposed new bridge is fixed span high enough to allow ships to cross under.

          • jim karlock

            *Dean Apostle:* JK writes: “Now tell us why you think we need to add a Billion dollar toy train for 1650 daily transit commuters. And tell us why we need to spend another Billion on interchanges?”

            Its not a “toy” train. Its a passenger train,
            *JK:* It’s a toy because it costs too much & does too little.

            *Dean Apostle:* and the reason I support it is because it moves people across the river without them having to drive. Duh!
            *JK:* All 1650 of them every day for 3/4 BILLION. That’s right, just 1650 people use transit accross the river every day!! Compared to 81,000 people in cars for the same money. Which makes sense?

            And what is wrong with driving? It costs less than the toy train. It is faster than the toy train. With a small car, it uses less energy than the toy train.

            *Dean Apostle:* As for interchanges, a bunch of them were already dropped to save costs. The total cost estimate is now between 2.5-3.5 billion.
            *JK:* Dropped? Which ones?

            *Dean Apostle:* The interchanges remaining are presumably essential to having the traffic flow and local access required.
            *JK:* Wrong. The intersections are the nice to do, instead of critical to do. To do non-essentials at the cost of bankrupting families with punitive tolls (up to $7.80 daily)in just plain evil. Such proposals show how little Portland’s progressives really care about people’s well being. They care more about some nutty scheme to attempt to force their vision of how people should live on us. They are evil.

            *Dean Apostle:* The light rail part of the project is not about “jobs.” Its about alternative ways for people to get around the region without having to drive. A way for people to get to jobs.
            *JK:* A slow, expensive, dangerous way to get around. A totally useless way to get around, compared to alternatives. It is more expansive, slower and uses more energy than small cars. What is its purpose other than to make its builders rich and to suck in ignorant fools who hate cars?

            It is not a good way to get to jobs, because most jobs are no where near the toy train line.

            Thanks
            JK

  • Anonymous

    This bridge should have been built 20 years ago and was killed, for the west side light rail. The experts predicted this and were ignored for Light rail. The question is will we ignore them again.
    ——————-
    STUDY OF THIRD COLUMBIA BRIDGE CLEARS ANOTHER HURDLE
    Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
    November 4, 1988
    Author: BILL STEWART – of the Oregonian Staff

    —cut——-
    At the present rate of growth, transportation officials expect the two existing
    Columbia River highway bridges to be clogged before the year 2010. Traffic
    volumes are growing faster than previously anticipated, IRC figures show.
    —————————————————

Stay Tuned...

Stay up to date with the latest political news and commentary from Oregon Catalyst through daily email updates:

Prefer another subscription option? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, become a fan on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Twitter Facebook

No Thanks (close this box)