PORTLAND, Ore. — We now have a rough estimate as to what tolls may cost along I-205 once ODOT starts collecting them sometime in 2025.
"We’re looking at a variable rate that would have the lowest rate of around $0.60 per toll point and the highest rate, I think, just over $2, so that’s during the peak of the rush hour," said Mandy Putney, Urban Mobility Office strategic initiatives director at the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
Those figures are based on an environmental study, which is helping to determine tolling impact on traffic volumes, diversion, and air pollution. The ultimate say in toll rate along I-205 between Oregon City and Tualatin will come from the Oregon Transportation Commission.
The State has tasked ODOT with two main priorities in the Portland area. The first of which is to find the money for earthquake improvement projects and the second is to improve congestion on clogged freeways. ODOT believes adding a third lane between OR-213 and Stafford Road, plus charging tolls, will accomplish both.
The question of equity in tolling is one ODOT said they spent a lot of time with. "We’re very committed to centering equity in this conversation, and we believe we’re doing it in a way that hasn’t been done elsewhere yet in the country," said Putney. "We’re now moving forward with a low-income toll report to think about strategies based on income."
Tolls are likely to be placed near the Tualatin River and Abernethy Bridges. ODOT said the tolls will vary by time of day, hoping to persuade drivers to use off-peak hours. "Drivers will know what the rate will be for the time they want to travel, and it’s not gonna change from day to day," said Putney.
There's a lot of work to be done modeling the impact of tolling on the region. A draft environmental assessment will be released this summer, for public review and comment.
The tolls may be in place in about three years.
Chris McGinness is a meteorologist and transportation reporter for KGW. Got a story idea or a great photo you want to share? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram