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Equity Impacts on Tolling Considered

ODOT forms advisory panel

3/18/2020, 10:43 a.m.
A new advisory committee will look at equity and mobility issues for the proposed tolling of the I-5 and I-205 ...
The Oregon Transportation Commission is recruiting at-large members of the public to form a new advisory committee to look at equity and mobility issues for the proposed tolling of the I-5 freeway (above) through north Portland, I-5 in southwest Portland, and on I-205 through east Portland. Portland Observer photo

The Oregon Department of Transportation Monday began accepting applications for members of the public to form a new advisory committee to look at equity and mobility issues for the proposed tolling of the I-5 and I-205 freeways through Portland.

The Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee will develop an equity framework for the tolling project to advise the Oregon Transportation Commission and the Oregon Department of Transportation on community concerns.

The goal of the I-5 and I-205 Tolling Projects is to manage congestion and generate revenue to fund bottleneck relief projects, as directed by the Oregon Legislature in 2017.

House Bill 2017 committed hundreds of millions of dollars to address congestion and improve the transportation system in the Portland metro region and around the state, including freight rail projects, transit and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The bill also directed the Oregon Transportation Commission to implement congestion pricing, also known as variable rate tolls, on I-5 and I-205 in the Portland metro region to provide additional traffic management tools to further manage congestion,

In 2018, the Portland Metro Area Value Pricing Commission, set out three priorities for the tolling program to move forward. The issues were impacts to adjacent neighborhoods, making new mass transit investments to offset freeway use, and equity related to low income people and communities of color who have historically been underserved by transportation planning decisions.

The new committee will be made up of about 15 members who represent a variety of mobility and equity interests and perspectives. Three to five members will be at-large positions selected through the application process. Other committee members will be appointed by the director of ODOT. Funds for time and travel may be available to committee members.

The meetings will follow guidance of Gov. Kate Brown and public health officials on proper safety precautions and social distancing recommendations in light of preventing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Options for alternative meeting schedules and formats will be considered if needed.

The committee will meet approximately 8 to 10 times and will complete its work in early 2021. Interested community members can apply for the committee and learn more on the project by visiting the web page oregon.gov/ODOT/tolling.