Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Sept. 22, 2021

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Tolling opponents gathering signatures to put it to vote

Former, current Oregon legislators helping lead effort

By , Columbian environment and transportation reporter

Opponents of a plan to toll parts of Interstates 5 and 205 in Portland have started gathering signatures to put tolling proposals up for a public vote in Oregon.

Julie Parrish, a former Republican legislator, state Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, Ore., and Less Poole, a Gladstone, Ore., planning commissioner, organized the campaign.

The organizers need 149,360 signatures to get Initiative Petition 10 on the 2020 ballot. If it gets on the ballot, and if passed by voters, the initiative would require any tolling on existing transportation infrastructure to pass with a majority vote in the state and any affected county.

The initiative would not require a vote for tolls for new infrastructure.

Where things stand

Oregon has plans to toll parts of I-5 between Southwest Multnomah Boulevard and North Going Street, and I-205 near the Abernethy Bridge and Stafford Road, as a means to reduce congestion and raise money for other traffic-easing projects.

In January, the Federal Highway Administration, while it asked for more details, gave Oregon what it needed to move forward with the plan, saying the tolls would likely be eligible under the government’s Value Pricing Pilot Program. The program allows local governments to establish tolls aimed at reducing congestion.

Specific details on the tolls — where they’ll start and end, how much they’ll cost or how they’ll be paid — have yet to be determined. Any tolling, should it be established, would be several years away.

Columbian environment and transportation reporter