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Vancouver City Council gives ODOT 5 suggestions on tolling

An Oregon committee is just weeks away from completing its recommendation for tolling on Interstate 5, and the Vancouver City Council has offered up its suggestions on the proposal.

The Vancouver City Council sent a five-point policy framework to the Oregon Department of Transportation and Value Pricing Manager Judith Gray for review.

The Portland Metro Area Value Pricing Advisory Committee — of which Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle is a member — meets for the final time June 25. After that, the Oregon Transportation Commission will make a final plan determination to send to the Federal Highway Administration for approval.

In its policy framework, the city council asks ODOT to extend the timeline for its Value Pricing Feasibility Analysis.

“Given the significance of this project to the future of the entire region, the timeline for concept evaluation and recommendation should be extended to allow for more analysis and additional public input,” the letter reads.

The council also states that any tolling proposals should avoid or minimize impacts and ensure benefits are distributed in an equitable manner.

“Any revenue generated by congestion pricing should be spent on improvements within the area where it was generated, so that those paying the toll also receive the benefits of reduced peak-hour congestion, increased vehicle/person throughput, increased travel time reliability, expanded multimodal capacity, and/or improved operations on existing roadways,” the letter reads.

Equity should translate to users, as well, according to the council, specifically reducing disproportionate impact on Southwest Washington commuters.

The city council writes that funding generated by tolling on Interstate 5 should help fund the replacement of the I-5 Bridge.

Finally, the framework notes that any diversion and impact analysis should consider impacts to not just I-5 and Interstate 205, but “all impacted local street systems, SR-14 and SR-500 in Vancouver, and I-84, US-26 and OR-217 in Oregon.”

The letter adds that the Vancouver City Council will continue to “work collaboratively with the OTC toward an equitable solution that benefits the entire Vancouver/Portland Metropolitan area.”

Source: The Columbian