Leaders defy Kotek plan to stop tolls

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon


Oregon Governor Tina Kotek declared this week that she scraping plans to toll I-5 and I-205.

But others say not so fast …

OPB reports , Transportation leaders say they will be looking at the concept again next year … [Kotek’s] decision marks a major setback for tolling plans the state has spent seven years and $61 million building. But some of the state’s top transportation officials insisted that the governor’s letter was not the end of the discussion. Tolls will still be on the table next year, when lawmakers are expected to reshape Oregon’s system for funding road maintenance and other transportation projects.“That letter did not disrupt what we’re doing at the Legislature or what we planned to get completed,” said Rep. Susan McLain, D-Forest Grove, a co-chair of the Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee. She added that Oregon needs “stable and sufficient” transportation dollars that the public can support.“While I believe tolling cannot be the only tool to solve all our challenges, as steward of our state’s transportation system, I believe it should be one of our tools,” Julie Brown, chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission, said in a statement.For the time being, the governor has told the Oregon Department of Transportation to focus its efforts elsewhere. The agency has briefed lawmakers repeatedly on efforts to toll Portland’s freeways in recent weeks, with no suggestion that the projects could be upended. Plans to pay for a new Interstate Bridge partly with tolls appear largely unaffected in light of Kotek’s announcement — with one change: Transportation leaders in Washington, not Oregon, are now expected to administer tolls required to pay for the massive bridge.” 

Tolling backers say they must find money to seismic upgrade our bridges.

But where could the money come from?

How about some of the $1.2 trillion from the Federal Infrastructure Program passed in 2021?

How about some of the Oregon $5.6 billion transportation tax package passed in 2017?

By the way, the article above mentions State Representative Susan McClain.  Here is what she said tolling was about:

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