PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As Oregon moves forward with I-205 tolling plans, the subject of tolls on Oregon roads has become highly controversial.
The plan is to put tolling in place by December 2024 on a section of I-205 between the Tualatin River Bridge and the Abernathy Bridge between the interstate’s Stafford Road and Highway 213 exits. The big picture is a plan to toll all of I-205 and a stretch of Interstate 5 in the metro area.
The Oregon Department of Transportation recently released a survey to gauge public interest on the subject, and West Linn mayor Rory Bialostosky calls it “misleading.”
Bialostosky – a vocal critic of the tolling option – wrote a letter to ODOT criticizing the survey of lacking context and manipulating public input to gain positive feedback.
“The State continues to barrel down the path of inequitable tolling that is not regional and will result in some residents paying drastically more than others solely based on where people live in the region and their activities in daily life,” Bialostosky writes. “Key data detailing localized diversion in the different scenarios is also missing, precluding local governments and residents from expressing informed opinions on the options. If equity truly is the central tenet of the ODOT process, as is always talked about by officials and key legislators, the current tolling plan and approach cannot move forward.”
Through an executive order, Governor Tina Kotek has delayed tolling in Oregon until 2026.
In the meantime, ODOT is still looking for feedback on the implementation of tolls, and offered a response to Bialostosky’s criticism.
“There are many decisions still to be made for the toll program, including how to apply tolls to I-5 and I-205,” said ODOT in a statement Friday. “This survey was designed to provide the public with a better understanding of what has been studied so far, and to ask community members to weigh in on the tradeoffs and benefits of three potential approaches to building this toll system.”