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Regional Mobility Pricing Project



 Interstate 5 in north Portland at 3 p.m. in summer twenty nineteen.

Project Status: Fall 2021

The Regional Mobility Pricing Project would apply congestion pricing (using variable-rate tolls) on all lanes of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland metro area to manage traffic congestion and raise revenue for priority transportation projects. This fall, we are continuing early planning and inviting feedback. Please see below for information about our November workshops. 

Getting Us Out of a Jam: The Future of Congestion Pricing in the Portland Metro Area Workshops

What you've heard is true: Congestion pricing is coming to I-5 and I-205. The Oregon Department of Transportation Urban Mobility Office hosted two workshops on November 9th and 10th focused on finding solutions to managing congestion in a way that is equitable and addresses climate change while providing needed funding for critical infrastructure and safety improvements. Elected officials, business and community leaders, and local and regional agency staff explored congestion pricing in the Portland Metro area, and the project team presented the results and findings of past engagement efforts and possible project options. 

The recorded livestream workshops, along with additional ways for you to provide input are below. We'd like to hear from you!

Questions? Email the project team here 

Workshop Links and Information

Agenda and Materials

Key activities

  • Travelers and the community shared their thoughts about congestion pricing in the Portland metropolitan area. Learn more here about what we've heard from briefings, Toll Work Group meetings, discussion groups, and over 6,500 survey responses. Don't have time to read the full report? See our eNewsletter with key takeaways or watch a video to learn more about what community engagement liaisons heard from their communities.

  • Gathered comments on a discussion draft Purpose and Need Statement to describe why the project is proposed and key issues the project will tackle. The discussion draft is based on the problem statement and public input to date. 

  • Developed project concepts and policy options to meet the project purpose. To do this, we described findings from our initial analysis from 2018. We also considered public feedback and ODOT's priorities for urban mobility.

Purpose

Our outdated transportation system requires us to take action and make improvements. By 2040, Portland metro households will spend an average of 69 hours each year stuck in traffic congestion without new transportation investments. Yet Oregon currently faces an annual shortfall of $510 million in its ability to adequately maintain bridges and pavement.

Tolling is a necessary tool to fix our transportation system. 

Congestion pricing, a type of tolling, will bring more reliable trips and address congestion in the metro region, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The revenue from tolling will fund seismic, safety and bottleneck-relief projects, further contributing to regional congestion relief.

Tolling helps manage traffic congestion by encouraging drivers to consider other travel options or times of travel. Even a small decrease in the number of people trying to get on I-5 and I-205 will have travel time benefits for those who can't modify their trip.

We are committed to using congestion pricing on I-5 and I-205 through variable rate tolling as a vital tool to manage traffic in the Portland metro area.

Project Description

The Regional Mobility Pricing Project would apply congestion pricing (using variable-rate tolls) on all lanes of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland metro area to manage traffic congestion and raise revenue for priority transportation projects that improve mobility.

The project area begins just south of the Columbia River in Oregon and ends at the Boone Bridge in Wilsonville. Toll rates would vary on a set schedule based on time of day, vehicle class, and vehicle occupancy. 

The study area includes I 5 and and two oh 5 from the Oregon Washington state line to the Boone Bridge in Wilsonville. 

Project Goal

Our goal is to give travelers better options. If they choose to pay a toll on I-5 or I-205, they would have a faster and more reliable trip.

We are working to identify a balanced toll rate schedule that improves traffic flow while generating revenue for transportation improvements. A toll that is too low won't manage congestion. A toll that is too high will cause too many highway drivers to use local streets instead and potentially clog parallel routes. Using different toll rates over the course of the day helps achieve this balance. This concept is known as congestion pricing.

Expected Benefits

  • Improves travel time and increases reliability, safety and efficiency.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.
  • Establishes a new, sustainable funding source through a user fee.
  • Incorporates equity and mobility strategies

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.


Alternatives Analysis

We are currently considering different congestion pricing concepts for the technical analysis. This will include:

  • An evaluation of toll options for the tolled area. 
  • An assessment of the potential for diversion onto the surrounding street system, especially other major routes (such as SW Barbur Boulevard, NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, OR 99E, I-84, I-405, N/NE Columbia and Lombard corridors). 
  • An evaluation of existing and planned future transit service. 
  • Consideration of equity and mobility strategies to ensure all demographics receive travel benefits. 

Learn more about tolls.

We want to hear from you

ODOT seeks extensive public and stakeholder involvement to inform project goal setting, development, and equity and mobility strategies.  

We have planned multiple strategies to ensure the Oregon Transportation Commission and ODOT staff hear from community members in the Portland metro area including Southwest Washington before making decisions.

Planned strategies include:

  • Collaboration with the Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee. 
  • Equitable and focused engagement with communities who have been historically and currently excluded and underserved by transportation projects. 
  • Broad public and community outreach using in-person events and online channels.
  • Briefings and discussions with existing regional policy groups (for example, Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, Region 1 Area Commission on Transportation).
  • Seeking input from technical work groups of partner agency staff on methodologies and analytical results that incorporate stakeholder input.
As the Regional Mobility Pricing Project moves forward, ODOT will be offering other digital opportunities to provide valuable feedback and hear directly from the experts. Sign up for project updates to find out about upcoming events. 

Schedule

The process to implement a toll program requires substantial analysis, public input, construction, testing and driver education before the system can be operational. Early planning for tolling on I-5 and I-205 started in 2021. The formal environmental review is expected to begin in 2022. The earliest tolling could begin under the Regional Mobility Pricing Project is 2025.

Fall 2021 Schedule

Click on image to expand.

Learn more about the ongoing I-205 Toll Project.


 





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