U.S. Congresswoman Herrera Beutler | E-Newsletter
District Update | March 2, 2018 Click here if you have trouble viewing this email
U.S. Congresswoman Herrera Beutler

Today, The Columbian nailed it when it comes to Oregon's tolling scheme.

Below is the link to their editorial. I've been fighting from the beginning to defend Southwest Washington commuters against Oregon's plan to toll Washington commuters who use the I-5 and I-205 bridges to get to work - in order to pay for Oregon infrastructure most Washington residents don't use. Oregon has now moved up its decision on what roads to toll to June 25. 

Excerpts from The Columbian's editorial are below. I also encourage you to read the entire article here.

In Our View: Speak Now or Pay the Toll

Washington residents would do well to question Oregon's plan to toll interstates

Published: March 2, 2018, 6:03 AM

As Oregon officials consider placing tolls along Interstate 5 and Interstate 205, Southwest Washington residents must make their voices heard. Silence is not an option regarding an issue that could have a large financial impact upon this region while defining transportation in the area for years to come.


While we recognize the need for improvements, we are skeptical. “Value pricing” and “congestion pricing” are euphemisms for tolls, and any tolls around the north end of the freeways would inequitably impact Washington residents. An estimated 70,000 Clark County residents work in Oregon, requiring two daily trips across the I-5 or I-205 bridge. In addition, many who work on this side of the Columbia River still make frequent trips to Portland for entertainment, dining or business purposes.

Because of that, it is essential for the advisory committee to fully understand the impact their proposals would have upon Clark County. In a meeting Wednesday with The Columbian’s Editorial Board, five representatives from the committee and the Oregon Department of Transportation were unable to say what percentage of bridge crossings are made by Washington residents. That would seem to be a fundamental question when considering which parts of the freeways should be tolled. Washington has three representatives on the 25-person advisory committee, but local residents have no say in electing the legislators who have pursued this proposal.


Any tolls along I-5 or I-205 will require federal approval because they are interstate freeways, a fact that adds to our skepticism. If the primary goal was congestion mitigation, there would be equal focus upon congested highways 26 and 217 to the west of Portland, rather than only areas that include a high percentage of Washington drivers.

But maybe we are just being overly skeptical. What matters is the voices of Southwest Washington residents; they should make those voices heard.

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