Task force to recommend Portland street tolls

Civic Affairs

City Council approves appointment of advisory group to help develop policy to discourage driving

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — The City Council approved the appointment of an advisory group to help the Portland Bureau of Transportation develop a plan to charge motorists to drive on some streets and bridges to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions on Wednesday.

The Pricing for Equitable Mobility task force is expected to begin meeting later this year and offer preliminary recommendations in the summer 2020 and final recommendations in the spring of 2021.

“Both the population and congestion are growing in the city of Portland. With this growth comes increased costs of congestion. There are economic costs to businesses and individuals, negative health impacts, and carbon pollution. Low-income communities and communities of color are often most negatively and disproportionately impacted by these hidden costs of congestion,” said an impact statement accompanying the resolution approved by the council.

The appointment will be part of the ongoing city, regional and state efforts to reduce congestion and emissions. According to the resolution, other cities around the world are successfully using road tolls to manager traffic and emissions.

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“[P]ricing for mobility, the practice of pricing road use according to demand, has reduced congestion and vehicle emissions in cities around the world and is now being implemented in New York, and considered in Seattle, Los Angeles, Vancouver (BC), and other North American cities,” it reads.

The resolution does not designate specific streets or bridges or suggest exact tolls to be charged. They are expected to eventually be recommended to the council by PBOT for approval.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is also working to toll portions of Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 in the Portland area to reduce congestion and emissions, and to generate revenue for improvement projects.

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