The I-205 Toll Project will use variable-rate tolls to manage congestion and raise revenue.
Our outdated transportation system requires us to take action and make improvements. We are investing in transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities and changing how we manage roads for safety and traffic flow. Tolling is another necessary tool to fix our transportation system. Tolls bring more reliable trips and address congestion in the metro region, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and fund bottleneck relief projects. We know Oregonians across the state need to get to and through the Metro region – and right now our regional transportation system isn't keeping up. Hours of delay and congestion come at a high cost to individuals, businesses, and communities. In 2020, the traffic counts declined with the COVID-19 pandemic but are now back to about 90% of pre-pandemic levels and expected to return to 2019 levels as the economy improves.
Tolls can help manage congestion and provide a more reliable trip by encouraging drivers to consider other travel options or times of travel. A large change in trip making isn't needed for significant benefits. Even a small decrease in the number of people trying to get on the highway will have travel time benefits for those who can't modify their trip.
In addition, funding for seismic, safety, climate and congestion improvements has not kept pace with inflation. Tolls are one tool to fund improvements in our transportation system.
The proposed I-205 Toll Project would toll I-205 near the Abernethy Bridge to manage congestion between Stafford Road and Oregon Route 213 and raise revenue for transportation improvements. As considered, tolls could help complete construction of the planned I-205 Improvements Project while giving travelers a better and more reliable trip.
Tolling on I-205 would consist of an all-electronic system that would automatically collect tolls from vehicles traveling on the corridor. Drivers will not stop to pay a toll. A transponder, a small sticker placed on the windshield, is read and connected to a pre-paid account. If a vehicle doesn't have a transponder, a camera captures the car's license plate, and the registered owner is billed.
Alternatives Under Review
We are analyzing three alternatives as part of the formal environmental review. Three other alternatives were considered in 2020 and found to provide fewer benefits. They were dropped from the analysis.
Alternatives currently under review include:
Alternative 3: Bridge Tolls on the Abernethy Bridge and Tualatin River Bridges
- Tolls on reconstructed bridges over Tualatin River and Willamette River.
- Split toll amount between two locations.
- Through trip pays more than local access trip.
More details for Alternative 3
Alternative 3 is a segment-based toll with two segments. I-205 would be tolled between Stafford Road and 10th Street and between OR 43 and OR 99E in locations where bridge structures are being replaced or significantly improved. The toll rate would vary according to a set schedule with higher tolls during peak travel times. This alternative relies on toll gantries on the Abernethy Bridge (over the Willamette River) and the I-205 bridges over the Tualatin River. Drivers who only drive one segment would pay half as much as drivers who travel on both segments.
Alternative 4: Segment-Based Tolls between Stafford Road and OR 213
- Toll split across four segments: amount paid depends on number of segments traveled.
- Most flexible for traffic operations management.
- More complex pricing structure to communicate to users.
More details for Alternative 4
Alternative 4 is a segment-based approach to tolling with four segments: Between Stafford Road and 10th Street, 10th Street and OR 43, the Abernethy Bridge (between OR 43 and OR 99E), and OR 99E to OR 213. The toll rate would vary according to a set schedule with higher tolls during peak travel times. Vehicles would be assessed a toll for each segment traveled. This alternative would distribute the total toll assessed over multiple tolling points. Like Alternative 3, drivers would only pay a toll for the segments they travel.
No Action Alternative: No toll would be applied
- Benefits would not be realized to help manage congestion or raise revenue for transportation projects.
- Generate revenue that could help pay for roadway improvements in the I-205 corridor
- Manage the more than 6 hours of daily congestion on this portion of I-205
- Improve travel time and increase reliability and efficiency for all I-205 users
- Reduce risk of rear-end crashes
- Reduce air pollution from idling vehicles in congested conditions and increase fuel efficiency with less stop and go traffic.
Toll funding could be used to help complete construction of the I-205 Improvements Project. Revenue generated by tolls could help pay for the approved improvements on the corridor, known as the I-205 Improvements Stafford Road and Oregon Route 213 Project. This is the only two-lane segment on I-205.These improvements include seismic upgrades to the Abernethy Bridge and eight other bridges on I-205 and the extension of a third lane in each direction. ODOT completed the environmental review for the I-205 Improvements Project in 2018. Construction is slated to begin in 2022.
Learn about I-205 Improvements: Stafford Road to OR 213.
2018 Feasibility Analysis concludes that tolls could be effective to manage congestion
Oregon's House Bill 2017, also known as Keep Oregon Moving, directed the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) to develop a proposal for tolling on I-5 and I-205 to reduce congestion as part of a suite of transportation investments throughout the state for roadway improvements, transit service enhancements and bicycle and pedestrian safety upgrades. The OTC and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) conducted the Portland Metro Area Value Pricing Feasibility Analysis to study how and where tolls could be applied. Substantial public input and a Policy Advisory Committee informed the final recommendations.
In December of 2018, the OTC submitted a proposal to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) outlining the findings of the feasibility analysis and seeking approval to continue the process of implementing tolls on I-5 and I-205. FHWA provided guidance to move into the next phase of evaluation and study on tolls.
In 2020, stakeholders commented on the I-205 Toll Project and stated the need for a comprehensive approach to tolling, but expressed concerns about fairness, equity, climate and diversion. To address these concerns, we expanded our approach to consider regional tolling on I-5 and portions of I-205 not included in the I-205 Toll Project, consistent with the long-term vision of the identified in the Value Pricing Feasibility Analysis.
See more information on the Regional Mobility Pricing Project website.
We are in the environmental review phase, which began in 2020. Following a public comment period in summer-fall 2020, the I-205 Toll Project is moving forward with an analysis of the three alternatives. This phase will include:
- An assessment of the potential for additional diversion onto the surrounding street system, especially onto neighborhood streets designed for low speed, low volume conditions.
- An evaluation of existing transit during peak periods to accommodate any shift in travel modes.
- An assessment of whether improved reliability on I-205 will make bus service on the highway a viable option to improve the currently limited public transportation options between West Linn, Oregon City and the I-5 corridor.
- Evaluation of other potential benefits and impacts of the tolling alternatives.
- Consideration of equity and mobility strategies to ensure people of all demographics receive travel benefits.
The project team has summarized all the public comments in a report and responded to the concerns, ideas and recommendations provided. In 2023, the Federal Highway Administration, in cooperation with ODOT, is expected to decide which alternative to implement based on the analysis conducted, existing policy and guidance, and community and stakeholder feedback.
Learn more about tolls.
Learn more about the I-205 Toll Project:
I-205 Corridor User Analysis
I-205 Toll Project Final Comparison of Screening Alternatives Technical Report
I-205 Toll Project Fact Sheet
We want to hear from you
Your involvement helps us build a toll program that benefits the entire state and meets our collective needs. ODOT is actively seeking extensive public and stakeholder involvement to inform, project development and community mobility and equity priorities.
Multiple strategies are underway to ensure the Oregon Transportation Commission and ODOT staff hear from community members in the Portland metro area including Southwest Washington before making decisions on selected tolling alternatives for equity and mobility strategies and, in the future, toll policies and rates.
In addition to the Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee, other planned strategies include:
- Equitable and focused engagement with people who have been historically and are currently underrepresented and underserved or who have low incomes
- Broad public and community engagement with both in-person events and online tools
- Briefings to and collaboration with existing regional policy groups (For example, Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, Region 1 Area Commission on Transportation)
- Technical work groups made up of regional staff to review methodologies and analytical results that incorporate stakeholder input
As the I-205 Toll Project continues to move forward, ODOT is offering live webinars and other digital opportunities to speak directly to the experts. Sign up for project updates to find out about upcoming events. Summaries of all events will be posted online.
Tolls could begin on I-205 as early as 2024. The process to implement a toll program requires substantial analysis, public input, construction, testing and driver education before the system can be operational.