The Oregon Department of Transportation is asking for the public to weigh in on five preliminary proposals for tolling Interstate 205 around the Abernethy Bridge in Oregon City.
The toll alternatives, released Monday, launch a federally required environmental review process and a 45-day period for public comment. These are the first steps that will lead to the selection of a toll system in the corridor.
Each of the five alternatives would toll all lanes of I-205 between Stafford Road and Cascade Highway 213 to raise revenue and improve travel reliability. The revenue could help pay for highway improvements along the corridor.
“We know tolls on I-205 will be a big change for our community, which is why it’s so important to share your opinions now,” said Lucinda Broussard, director of the state’s toll program. “Your comments about how tolls affect you and your community are critical to inform how we add tolls to the highway and which alternatives to study in the next phase of analysis.”
The tolling proposals have been in the works for months, as the state seeks to both alleviate growing congestion on both Interstate 5 and 205, as well as raise revenue for needed highway improvements and bottleneck relief projects.
Before March 2020, an average of 100,000 vehicles traveled Interstate 205 every day in the corridor, leading to more than 6.5 hours of delay and costing our economy $2 million each day. Though those numbers took a dip this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and more people laid off or working from home, officials expect traffic congestion to eventually return to pre-Covid levels.
ODOT proposes all-electronic, variable-rate tolls to manage this congestion and generate revenue for needed transportation improvements to keep people moving into the future. Officials say tolling I-205 will improve traffic because some drivers will adjust their travel times to pay a lower toll — or take alternate routes to avoid them altogether.
Under these proposals, drivers on I-205 will not be stopping to pay a toll. Drivers will be provided a transponder — a small sticker placed on the inside of the windshield that’s connected to a pre-paid account. If a vehicle doesn’t have a transponder, a camera will capture the car’s license plate, and the registered owner will be billed after the fact.
ODOT says it will study options for how best to reach individuals who lack access to prepay tolls.
The transportation department will host activities through Sept. 16 to ask questions, offer feedback, and learn about the project. Public feedback will help determine which toll alternatives to study in the next steps of the I-205 toll project environmental review process.
For more information, see the links below, provided by ODOT.
Online engagement site:
Online survey form:
Wednesday, Aug. 12, Noon-1 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 4-5 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 20, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Project email: email@example.com
Project voicemail: 503-837-3536