PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Carolyn Brown is a coordinator with Catholic Community Services in Vancouver. The group provides more than 100 low-income residents with rides to doctor appointments and groceries.
But if the Oregon Dept of Transportation’s plan for congestion “value pricing” is put into effect on Oregon highways, stretching from the state line to Tualatin, then volunteer drivers with Catholic Community Services would cut their driving time, and their range of service, in half.
“It would cost us,” said Brown, who was in attendance for ODOT’s open house on Monday. “and we aren’t going to pass this along to our drivers because they’re already driving for free.
“That would be a big impact for us.”
ODOT, as a part of House Bill 2017 — also known as “Keep Oregon Moving” — is considering 5 options for value pricing, including converting a carpool lane to an electronic toll lane, or adding a new lane entirely.
Earlier this month, at a different ODOT open house on the possible tolling system, Vancouver residents and politicians expressed their concern over the plan.
“This is not a good a good deal for Vancouver,” said Council Member Alisha Topper on April 2. “I’m sorry it’s not.”
Four weeks later, that sentiment hasn’t changed.
“And it doesn’t consider the boost that Washington residents give to the state of Oregon when they work in Oregon because they pay income taxes to the state of Oregon and get no benefit for it,” said Dave Herrera.
Chuck Green, another Vancouver resident, added: “I would like to see some accountability in someway to have Washington residents to have a say in where their toll dollars would go.”
ODOT said it is still researching the effect value pricing could have on different communities and different drivers. ODOT has until the end of the year to send a proposal to the Federal Government.