In recent months, bridge tolls have been a highly controversial subject and much in the news. I agree tolls on the Interstate 5 Bridge are appropriate; it puts some of the burden of cost on those who use the bridge. Tolls on the I-205 Bridge are a thornier subject, however.
The principal argument against them seems to be: Why should Washington residents pay for road work and highway improvements that take place in Klamath Falls, Ore., for example? The charge of “taxation without representation” is often made.
I have an idea that might resolve this contentious issue. Charge all drivers on the I-5 Bridge tolls until the new bridge is paid for. On the I-205 Bridge, however, charge tolls but exempt Washington drivers. I’m assuming toll collection would be automated in some way to minimize impeding traffic flow. Surely, camera and artificial intelligence technologies could be employed to recognize Washington license plates, allowing them to pass toll-free.
Another benefit of this plan could be that Washington residents who register their cars in Oregon might reevaluate the personal economic benefits of denying Washington its lawful registration and licensing revenues. It’s just an idea, but I think it’s one worth considering.