City Council supports tolling to ease highway traffic
Portland's city council has unanimously approved a resolution in support of tolling to ease traffic on Interstates 5 and 205.
At the crux of the debate is the stretch of I-5 that cuts through the city's Rose Quarter.
The Oregon Department of Transportation says it's often backed up for 12 hours a day.
The state Legislature has approved a $400 million plan to add lanes and improve it, but also directed the Oregon Transportation Commission to develop a proposal for tolling on I-5 and I-205 in the Portland region.
Critics say widening the highway will just encourage more people to drive — a problem transportation planners call "induced demand."
Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who runs the city transportation bureau, said he thinks the state should try tolling before it moves forward with the freeway expansions.
"Let me be clear: In my opinion, congestion pricing should happen in these corridors before any shovels break ground," he said.
Under congestion pricing, the cost of using a road or bridge rises depending on the time of day or amount of traffic. It's a strategy that a number of cities have adopted recently, including London, Stockholm, New York and Seattle.
The City Council's resolution also directed the city's transportation bureau to study whether congestion pricing strategies could improve other bottlenecks.
OPB is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can read the rest of their story at www.opb.org/news/article/portland-tolling-traffic-congestion-city-council-support.