“I’m fully cognizant of the fact that [congestion pricing] may not happen before this project and I certainly don’t want to see this project fall by the wayside because of that.”
— Dan Saltzman, City Commissioner
As the Oregon Department of Transportation tries their best to move forward with a project to widen Interstate 5 through the Rose Quarter, there remains broad support from experts, activists, insiders — and even politicians — that charging a toll to drive on the freeway is the most sensible way to respond to congestion concerns.
But until last week it had been all talk and posturing. That was before City Commissioner Dan Saltzman (who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation) drafted an amendment to an action item on the project in the Central City 2035 Plan. At their October 18th work session on the plan, Portland City Council agreed with Saltzman on an idea we first reported on back in September: That ODOT must implement congestion pricing on I-5.
But the devil is in the details. When would the tolls start? Would they be legal? How committed is the City of Portland to congestion pricing on I-5? Are they willing to risk the entire project if it doesn’t happen? [Read more…]