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Joe K. Meyer: Political common ground can found in the all-but-certain implementation of tolling on I-205.

Joe K. MeyerIt's no secret that my personal ideology falls left-of-center on the U.S. political spectrum. There are ideas I have heard from my more conservative neighbors that I don't agree with, and I know that the opposite is true as well. That is the nature of a free-thinking society, and the media makes such ideological differences well-known to its consumers.

But there is also common ground to be found in certain local topics; and one of these, apparently, is the all-but-certain implementation of tolling on I-205.

Many of us who lean left find fault with ODOT being given a blank check to do its pet projects in the name of safety and commerce, and afterward passing the cost of said projects off onto local residents in the form of a freeway toll. Not only does this act as a regressive tax on middle- and low-income drivers who usually have longer commutes to and from work, it also exacerbates our looming ecological crisis after two straight years of record-breaking weather events.

Those on the right, meanwhile, seem to be mainly concerned about the fiscal aspects of the proposed toll scheme, and also rightly point out the potential problem of traffic being diverted onto surface streets in nearby neighborhoods — something that can and will annoy almost everyone involved.

Overall, both sides recognize that something isn't right about this tolling idea.

In today's hyper-polarized political landscape, it is more important than ever for people to acknowledge — and capitalize upon — the conversations where we find common ground. I hope that we can somehow present a united front on this issue, and hold fast against the steamroller that is ODOT.

Joe K. Meyer is a resident of Happy Valley.


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