Oregon commission approves CRC tolling agreement

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

Published:

Updated: December 20, 2012, 6:05 PM

 

The Oregon Transportation Commission on Tuesday approved a bistate agreement that will begin the process of setting toll rates for the Columbia River Crossing. The vote follows the lead of the Washington State Transportation Commission, which approved the same agreement last week.

The joint agreement had previously been announced to lawmakers in both states. Tuesday’s vote made it official.

Under the plan, a subgroup of representatives from both Washington and Oregon will jointly determine toll-setting details for the CRC. It won’t set the actual amount drivers pay to cross a new Interstate 5 Bridge; that requires a majority vote of each commission.

Toll revenues are expected to pay for about a third of the CRC’s $3.5 billion price tag. The rest would come from state and federal funding sources, though none of that money has been secured.

In addition to replacing the current Interstate 5 Bridge, the CRC would also extend light rail into Vancouver and rebuild the freeway on both sides of the Columbia River. Project leaders hope to begin major construction in late 2014. Tolling could begin as soon as 2015.