ODOT submitted an application in December 2018 to toll these two routes to raise money for transportation improvements and reduce congestion, as required by HB 2017. In early 2019, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) responded to the Oregon Transportation Commission’s application to toll I-5 between Going Street and Multnomah Boulevard and I-205 at or near the Abernethy Bridge.
FHWA’s letter provides a basis for ODOT to move into the next phase of work. It lays out responses to key questions and describes what ODOT will need to do in order to secure federal approval for tolling these two sections of the Interstate. ODOT will continue working closely with FHWA to move tolling forward.
The locations for tolling that were advanced by the OTC reflect the recommendation
of a 24-member Policy Advisory Committee which met to evaluate the technical analysis and public input from a Value Pricing Feasibility Analysis from November 2017 to June 2018.
The OTC accepted the PAC recommendation in August 2018. It served as the basis for a draft application for OTC approval in December 2018. At this meeting, the five-member commission voted unanimously to accept the draft and submit a final application to the Federal Highway Administration by the end of 2018, as mandated by HB2017.
The next phase of work will include in-depth planning, traffic and revenue analysis, environmental review, and extensive public engagement. This analysis will focus on concerns raised frequently during the feasibility analysis phase of the project, including understanding impacts to low income and historically marginalized communities, needed improvements to mass transit services and other travel options and minimizing negative diversion impacts to neighborhood streets. ODOT will be launching this work in the near future. This phase is expected to take several years due to the rigor of the analysis and the extensive public engagement required.
Application to FHWA
In 2017, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2017, known as “Keep Oregon Moving.” This bill committed billions of dollars in projects that will address our congestion problem and improve the transportation system in the region and statewide. HB 2017 funded bottleneck relief highway projects, freight rail, and transportation options, including improvements to transit, biking and walking facilities and service. The Legislature also directed the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) to pursue and implement tolling on I-5 and I-205 in the Portland Metro region to help manage traffic congestion. A 2018 feasibility analysis, which included both technical analysis and public input, determined that tolling could help manage congestion and raise revenue on I-5 and I-205.