Our outdated transportation system requires us to take action and make improvements.
The cost of congestion on freeways in the Portland metropolitan region was $1.2 million a day in 2019, according to ODOT's 2020 Traffic Performance Report
. The metropolitan area is expected to grow 23% by 2040. Yet, Oregon faces an annual shortfall of $510 million to adequately maintain bridges and roads.
Tolling is one necessary tool to fix our transportation system.
Congestion pricing, a type of tolling, will bring more predictable trips and address congestion in the Portland metropolitan area, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Toll revenue from the Regional Mobility Pricing Project would be an additional source of funding for transportation improvements identified in existing regional transportation planning documents.How does this help keep traffic moving?
In cities, space is limited, and communities make choices about how best to use that space. When something is in high demand, the value or price increases.
Congestion pricing charges a higher fee during rush hour (generally 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.), compared to other times, so travelers can make informed choices, such as:
- Delaying running errands until off-peak hours.
- Taking a bus, biking, or carpooling instead of driving alone.
- Paying a toll for a more predictable trip.
Removing as little as 5% of the vehicles from a busy road reduces traffic and allows a more efficient flow of cars. Fewer vehicles on the road during peak travel times means less traffic.
Portland is not the first city to explore congestion pricing as a tool to reduce traffic. Places like Seattle and Minneapolis/St. Paul have been using congestion pricing for over a decade with great success. In Seattle, the Federal Highway Administration reported traffic volumes decreased by 35-40 percent, and in Minneapolis/St. Paul
, the state's Department of Transportation found drivers were able to travel at speeds above 45 mph approximately 96 percent of the time.
Oregon is committed to using congestion pricing on I-5 and I-205 to manage traffic in the Portland metropolitan area.
The State of Oregon is exploring tolling as part of a comprehensive approach to better reduce congestion in the Portland metropolitan region. In 2017, the Oregon Legislature approved House Bill 2017. In 2021, the Legislature adopted another bill, HB 3055, which clarified and reinforced the transportation direction from HB 2017. These directed the Oregon Transportation Commission to pursue and implement tolling I-5 and I-205 in the Portland metropolitan region and committed funding to projects that will reduce traffic congestion and improve the transportation system statewide, including improvements to highways, the freight network, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
- Improves travel time and increases travel predictability, safety and efficiency.
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.
- Establishes a new, sustainable funding source through a user fee.
- Supports enhanced transportation equity and mobility.