Oregon DOT Has “Spicy Exchanges” With State Lawmakers Over Tolling

BikePortland editor Jonathan Maus writes, “I used to think the I-5 freeway expansion projects at the Rose Quarter and the Interstate Bridge were the toughest things the Oregon Department of Transportation could ever try to pull off; but that was before I fully understood the massive headwinds they face on tolling. For ODOT, starting up a toll program will make trying to widen a freeway in Portland’s central city seem like a walk in the park.” Maus notes that ODOT is already contending with pushback from local officials and residents, especially those who object to its I-205 Toll Project. “With the start of the 2023 legislative session last week, ODOT leaders now have another powerful slate of skeptics and scrutinizers: Oregon lawmakers. ODOT is facing hard questions and skepticism about tolls from both sides of the political aisle.” Maus reports on the reception ODOT program representatives received at two recent legislative committee hearings.