SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Research presented to the Oregon Transportation Committee Thursday indicates tolling is not popular and residents are skeptical it would effectively reduce congestion.

But as frustration with congestion and driving delays goes up, ODOT’s assistant director told the commission he thinks commuters may be near a key boiling point.

“I think we’re seeing evidence that as a result of all the frustrations the support for tolling and congestion pricing is beginning to increase,” Travis Brouwer said.

Amid all the questions responded to in a November 2018 online survey of 400 Portland metro area residents, traffic congestion is an issue that is climbing the list of concerns.  

“We asked the question, ‘Would you favor or oppose the use of tolls to reduce congestion in your area?’ and what we see is that in the Portland metro region we’re now even —  48.3% to 48.3%,” Brouwer said. “And in other urban areas we have a similar pattern. That’s up 3.8 points from the last survey.”

Whether increased frustration of commuters is enough to encourage widespread support for new tolls on I-5, I-205 and potentially other major roadways remains to be seen. But at this briefing, transportation leaders heard from the frustrated that tolling — if it reduces congestion — may not have the near universal disdain it once had.