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History of the Oregon Toll Program

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Over the course of seven years, we worked to establish a modern and equitable toll program based on community input. Below we include some of the highlights of this work. 


Tolling became an active part of our statewide transportation discussions in 2016 and 2017, when the 2016 Transportation Vision Panel Report to former Gov. Kate Brown presented significant concern about the statewide economic impacts from congestion in the Portland metro area. State legislators recognized that Oregon needed new and different funding sources to make vital improvements to the transportation system for the safety and economic viability of the state. In 2017, House Bill 2017 gave legislative direction to the Oregon Transportation Commission to seek federal approval by the end of 2018 to implement variable time-of-day tolling that would reduce traffic congestion.  

The commission directed ODOT to complete a Value Pricing Feasibility Analysis to determine how and where congestion pricing could help reduce congestion on I-5 and I-205 during peak travel times. The analysis was published in 2018, recommending further study on the I-5 and I-205 corridor to ensure a balance between reducing congestion, raising revenue, and avoiding extreme traffic diversion. 



Momentum for the Oregon Toll Program picked up in 2020, when we initiated the federal environmental review of the I-205 Toll Project, which proposed variable-rate tolls on the Abernethy and Tualatin River bridges to raise revenue for construction of planned improvements to I-205, including seismic upgrades and widening, and to manage congestion. We formed the Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee to advise the OTC and ODOT to help shape an equitable toll program. We also committed to studying regional tolling on I-5 and I-205 in response to public feedback—this became known as the Regional Mobility Pricing Project (RMPP). 

By the end of 2021, the Oregon Legislature reaffirmed the direction to implement tolls on I-5 and I-205 in House Bill 3055 and directed ODOT to establish a low-income toll program. This bill also provided financing options that allowed the agency to begin construction of the first phase of the I-205 Improvements Project on the Abernethy Bridge. The second phase of the I-205 Improvements Project was added to the environmental review of the I-205 Toll Project. To carry out the Portland-area legislative investments and direction from HB 2017 and HB 3055, the OTC adopted the Urban Mobility Strategy in 2021. This strategy outlines a cohesive approach to reduce congestion, update bridges and roads to withstand seismic events and implement tolls to help modernize and maintain the Portland region's infrastructure.  

In 2022, we delivered the Low-Income Toll Report to the OTC and the Oregon Legislature. This effort included robust public engagement to explore options for an income-based toll discount and guided our work to further develop a low-income toll program. This same year, we established the Regional Toll Advisory Committee to further engage with policymakers and leaders in the Portland metro area and southwest Washington to provide input, advice, and support for the regional toll program. 

The following year, ODOT and our partners reached many milestones and adapted to new changes for the toll program. The following include key moments in 2023. 

  • We convened the Statewide Rulemaking Advisory Committee to bring a customer perspective into the work to establish rules for customer accounts, rate setting, exceptions, and the low-income toll program. 
  • ODOT and the Federal Highway Administration published the I-205 Toll Project Environmental Assessment for the public to review the studied impacts and benefits of the project.  
  • At the urging of local jurisdictions and elected officials, Gov. Tina Kotek asked the OTC to delay toll collection until 2026 so that we could develop an updated finance plan for the Urban Mobility Strategy and a comprehensive report on our work to address equity impacts of tolling and traffic mitigation.  
  • Following this direction, we delivered the 2023 Urban Mobility Strategy Finance Plan to the Governor in June, which outlined a reduced scope to the planned I-205 Improvements Project and the I-205 Toll Project due to financial constraints. Because of this change, the agency began working on a Supplemental Environmental Assessment, studying the impacts of a toll only at the Abernethy Bridge to support funding for the construction underway. 
  • Work progressed to establish the toll systems necessary for toll collection and operations in order to start toll collection in 2026. 
  • We developed draft administrative rules for tolling, informed by our conversations with Tribes, community members, the Statewide Toll Rulemaking Advisory Committee and the Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee. The proposed Oregon Administrative Rules were meant to determine how customers would set up toll accounts, how rates would be set by the OTC, exemptions, civil penalties and more.  
  • The OTC committed to delivering a 50% discount for drivers whose annual incomes were at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level on the first day of toll collection. (In 2023, 200% of the Federal Poverty Level was $30,000 for a family of four.) 
  • We published the Oregon Toll Program Implementation Report in December to document the status of the agency’s plans to address equity concerns and minimize traffic diversion to local roads. 



In March 2024, Governor Kotek and the Oregon Transportation Commission directed ODOT to bring our toll work to a close. As the governor stated in her letter to the OTC, “After years of work, the challenges of implementing the Regional Mobility Pricing Project (RMPP) have grown larger than the anticipated benefits. Therefore, I believe it is time to bring the agency’s work on the RMPP to an end and delay additional expenditures for implementation of tolling on I-205 to the future when the legislature can further evaluate and provide clearer direction on tolling. 

The closer we moved toward toll collection, the more it became clear that a regional tolling program cannot meet the needs expressed by our local partners while also meeting the needs of Oregonians statewide at this time. The governor’s decision allows us to manage our available finances and focus on our most pressing priorities – including our structural revenue issue. 

Following this direction, we have stopped work on the RMPP, and we have paused our work to further develop the I-205 Toll Project. Construction will continue on the I-205 Abernethy Bridge Project, for which toll revenues were expected to cover roughly $400 million of the project’s total cost. We look forward to the Oregon Legislature’s consideration of alternative funding sources for this project.  

For the Portland region, there will be one toll facility starting collection in 2026: the Interstate Bridge between Portland and Vancouver. Learn more about the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program here.