Council to consider tolling study to reduce congestion
Studying whether to impose tolls on state and local roads will be considered by the City Council on Thursday.
No tolls will be immediately imposed, however. The resolution coming before the council directs the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to work with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and other jurisdictions to study the issue, and to report back on the results within a year.
According to the resolution, tolling is called "congestion pricing" when the charges increase to reduce traffic at peak hours. The resolution says that might be necessary to reduce growing traffic congestion in the region.
According to the resolution, "between 2013 and 2015, traffic congestion in the Portland region grew over four times faster than the growth in population — population grew by 3.0%, while congestion increased by 13.6%." The increase is damaging livability, hurting the economy, and threatening the council's greenhouse gas reduction goals, the resolution says.
The resolution is one of two efforts that could eventually impose tolls in the Portland region to reduce congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and raise funds for transportation projects, however. The $5.3 billion transportation funding package approved by the 2017 Oregon Legislature directed ODOT to study tolling I-5 and I-2015 before proceeding with the related freeway projects it authorizes.
The resolution to be considered by the council directs PBOT to work withy ODOT on the study. It also directs PBOT to work with counties and cities in the region to study tolling additional roads and other steps to reduce congestion, such as varying parking rates to reduce peak demand.
According to the resolution, cities around the world have adopted congestion pricing policies with good results. The work best when other transportation options such are transit are easily available, however.
And the resolutions says that some steps need to be taken to reduce the impact on lower-income households, however. They include "reductions in fees and investments in projects that benefit low-income users."
You can read the resolution at www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/article/664084.
Congestion pricing is also called "value pricing." You can read a previous Portland Tribune story the first meeting of 's Portland Area Value Pricing Policy Advisory Committee at portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/379123-266022-portland-tolling-committee-begins-work.