Apply now for at-large positions to develop mobility strategies that benefit historically underserved communities
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is forming an Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee (EMAC) to advise on how tolling Oregon’s freeway system, in combination with other transportation strategies, can include benefits for populations that have historically been underserved by transportation projects.
The EMAC will also support the development of an equity framework to be used for the I-5 and I-205 Tolling Projects and for other state tolling locations that may be evaluated in the future. Advice will be provided to the Oregon Transportation Commission and Oregon Department of Transportation.
The EMAC will be composed of about 15 members who represent a variety of mobility and equity interests and perspectives in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Three to five of these members will be at-large positions filled through an application process. Other committee members will be appointed. Funding for time and travel may be available by request. The committee will meet about eight to ten times and will conclude in early 2021. Accessibility resources, including interpretation, will be provided as requested.
At-large members will be selected to represent a community of interest. These members will be asked to share information between the EMAC and the community they represent. In addition to seeking diversity on the EMAC respective to geography, demographics, and current interests, the committee will strive for representation from those with knowledge of historically underserved communities.
Interested in representing your community? Apply online or call (503) 837-3536 to request a paper application. All applications must be received by April 17.
ODOT is committed to slowing the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Meetings of the newly formed EMAC will follow guidance of Governor Kate Brown and public health officials. ODOT encourages all public meeting participants to follow proper safety precautions and social distancing recommendations. Options for alternative meeting schedules and formats will be considered if needed.
Postcards mailed to residents with online survey link
As part of a comprehensive approach to manage traffic congestion and raise revenue for bottleneck relief projects, we need current data on how drivers use I-205.
ODOT is conducting an online “Travel Preference Survey”, a research instrument that asks users when, why and how often they use I-205 near the Abernethy Bridge and evaluates users’ willingness to pay a toll to save travel time. Results will be used to study the potential effects of tolling on I-205.
For the results of this survey to be representative of I-205 drivers, we need your help!
Your opinion is important. The more people who respond to the survey, the more precise the results will be. Participants who complete the survey can enter for a chance to win a $100 cash gift card.
We sent postcards with a link to complete the survey online to a random sample of residents in Oregon and Southwest Washington. If you have received one of these postcards, please take the survey following the instructions provided.
If you did not receive a postcard, you can still take the survey and share your thoughts by clicking the button below.
We will conduct another survey in the future to gather this information about I-5.
This spring, ODOT will host a virtual educational event and launch an educational website about the Tolling Program. The online platforms will present information about the I-5 and I-205 Tolling Projects and will provide opportunities for community members to ask questions and offer feedback. Specifically, these engagement opportunities will go into more detail in the following topic areas:
- Current plans and next steps
- How modern tolling systems work
- The program's approach to equity
ODOT has decided to rely on digital tools to engage the community on the Tolling Program until the risks associated with COVID-19 are reduced.
Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.
I-5 and I-205 tolling projects move forward with equity and community mobility as essential elements
Extensive opportunities to provide public input
Beginning this spring, ODOT will conduct an environmental review of tolling options for Interstate 205 and conduct additional planning work to define the start and end points of tolling on Interstate 5. You will have opportunities to provide input during this work.
With the help of stakeholders and partner agencies, we have identified three equity and mobility priorities for tolling projects:
- Improved public transit and other travel options
- Options for people with low incomes and historically disadvantaged people who depend on the freeways
- Strategies to support neighborhood safety and mobility
These priorities were recommended by a policy advisory committee, endorsed by the Oregon Transportation Commission and included in
to the Federal Highway Administration to study tolling on I-5 and I-205.
Extensive opportunities to provide input will be available as both projects progress. As project alternatives are developed and evaluated for I-5 and I-205, We will work with regional partners, neighborhoods, and community-based organizations to develop community mobility and equity priorities and strategies that will help advance the projects. The results of this work will be shared with stakeholders through public events and online surveys as the projects are being developed.
Region 1 Area Commission on Transportation discusses decision process and public engagement for tolling
The Region 1 ACT will advise the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) and ODOT staff on tolling projects.
At the February Region 1 ACT meeting, OTC chair Bob Van Brocklin said the OTC is proceeding with tolling projects knowing there is much to learn from the technical analysis, agency partners and the public.
“We can’t predict tonight what the package will look like. We are committed to becoming educated before we decide what to do,” said Van Brocklin.
The Region 1 ACT discussed several topics related to tolling, including:
- The importance of coordination with other regional projects
- Fairness to low-income drivers
- Timing for when tolling will begin
- Current diversion and potential travel pattern changes
- The role the Region 1 ACT will serve to help community conversations
- The need for broad public engagement
- The need for improved public transit and other transportation options
The next meeting occurs April 6 in Cascade Locks and is open to the public.
We need your help to improve travel on I-205
Postcards will be mailed to residents with online survey link
As part of a comprehensive approach to reduce traffic congestion and raise revenue for bottleneck relief projects, we need current data on how drivers use I-205.
This winter ODOT will conduct an online “Travel Preference Survey” that asks drivers why and when they travel on I-205. Results will be used to study the effects of tolling the freeway.
For the results of this survey to be representative of I-205 drivers, we will need your help!
Your opinion is important. The more people who respond to the survey, the more precise the results will be. We will send postcards to residents in the seven-county region with information to complete the survey online. If you receive one of these postcards, please take the survey following the instructions provided.
If you do not receive a postcard, you will be able to take the survey and share your thoughts by accessing the project website in the coming weeks.
We will conduct another survey in the future to gather this information about travel on I-5.
Why is Oregon tolling?
In 2017, the Oregon Legislature approved House Bill 2017 which committed hundreds of millions of dollars in projects to address congestion and improve the transportation system in the region and statewide. HB 2017 funded bottleneck relief highway projects, freight rail, improvements to transit and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The bill also directed the Oregon Transportation Commission to pursue and implement congestion pricing, also known as variable rate tolls, on I-5 and I-205 in the Portland Metro region to provide additional traffic management tools to further manage congestion.
During the 2018 Feasibility Analysis, regional stakeholders, agency partners, and the public explored multiple options for variable rate tolling. This resulted in the identification by the Oregon Transportation Commission of two projects for further evaluation:
- I-5 along a seven-mile stretch through central Portland approximately between N Going/Alberta Street to SW Multnomah Boulevard, the exact end points still to be determined.
- I-205 between Stafford Road and OR 213, on or near the Abernethy Bridge, the exact location still to be determined.
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.