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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tolls due on Portland roads by 2012

From Willy Week yesterday, we learn that tolls are coming to Portland-area roads, courtesy of the state legislature, sometime between now and September 2012. Remember the contentious public hearings on that bill? Me neither -- there weren't any.

No doubt this "pilot project" (surely it's only temporary, right?) is intended to save our planet. But more likely, it will damage the region's already anemic economy. Even Peter DeFazio can see that it's going to have some ugly consequences. But Governor Ted and the kids in the Legislature shoulder on. Green, sustainable, smart growth, union label, yada yada yada.

What is this "pilot project" supposed to prove? Big surprise: Wherever you put a toll, people will take the nearest route around it. If you toll enough places, eventually people will either take mass transit or move to a worker-friendlier city. Guess which option will be more popular.

In the end, we're all supposed to stay in our condo bunkers, pay our rent to Homer Williams and Mark Edlen (or whoever they sell out to when the banks catch up to them), and never venture outside except to walk to our barista jobs or to go organic grocery shopping. No, you will work near your apartment. For your occasional vacation, Comrade, you are to rent a Zipcar from Bill Scott.

I think we ought to put a toll on I-5, right where the legion of commuting state bureaucrats turn onto and off the Salem Parkway every workday morning. Double toll if you're in a state government car.

In any event, I think I'll vote no on Measure 67, just so that I can save all those increased corporate taxes that are going to be passed through to me as a consumer. After all, I'm going to need that money to pay my tolls.

Comments (41)

You ain't seen nothing yet. Minute-by-minute controls are coming. I bet you all can't wait for HOT Lanes to migrate out West...

Charges will be up to $1.00 per mile, but not to worry, drivers can lock in the rate by choosing their entry time.

I like how the WW article notes that the other cities used to model congestion pricing are from Europe, and the consultant specifically notes London. I personally love London, for many reasons, one being the tube system. The state of public transportation there is not even remotely comparable to here. When I can get from my house in the suburbs, to my office downtown, and easily over my daughter's school and back to pick her up without taking a dozen buses and the whole trip taking hours, then maybe we'll be ready for tolls. Until then, taking a tolling system from London and grafting it onto Portland seems to put the cart before the horse.

Another money hustle in the name of "green and sustainable". Soon, the pitch will have to somehow twist to be "for the kids and elderly."

Jack - it's for the children.

There now it's all good.

Another stupid idea from the dummies in government. Remember, we're from the government, we're here to help you.

Besides, we all know that some auto dealer in Gresham is not paying her "fair share."

And all those 'cute and convenient and safe' On Star black boxes will keep track of it all! Everything will be automatically downloaded into the gov't computers and sucked out of your bank account.
This is stuff that Orwell could not have conceived.
Is Gov. Ted having his head frozen so he can see it all?
Go by Streetcar!...very slowly...

I'm not against toll roads per se, since I absolutely loved the turnpike system when I visited south Florida a couple months ago. However, I'm not real spiffed up for tolls that don't pay for the road maintenance and new road construction.

In south Florida, you have a choice. If you don't want to pay the toll, you drive to I-95, and deal with the circus animals that drive on that particular route. If you're smart, you get a SunPass (transponder in the car, you slow down to 25 mph when going through most gates) and instead take one of the toll roads (Florida's Turnpike, Sawgrass Expressway, etc.).

It's a system that seems to be well maintained and works really good considering that they have way more people there than we have here, and practically no mass transit options.

Why do I get the strange feeling that any revenue from this garbage will be diverted to pay for more stuff we don't need and/or want?

If the goal is to force me onto mass transit, one would hope that mass transit would pass somewhere near my home after 10pm.

Well, its a good thing the world is going to end in December 2012. We wont have to pay these tolls for very long.

Nice one, though seems a bit late. Adams, and therefore the brow-beaten CC, is a big fan-o-the-toll. He threw a tantrum about it on the CRC too.

Imagine, a bunch of bicycle riders, and bicycle-based business owners want to use the government to control your transportation options. Imagine that.

Don't forget to attend the Church of Green sermon at the upcoming CRC community discussion. The same nitwits that put a new bridge on the table in the first darn place, the same nitwits who then set about micromanaging the thing from a position of total and complete ignorance, are gonna be there preaching. It should be a hoot.

These elected officials have so abused and corrupted TIF/Urban Renewal they can no longer use it for the play money for their schemes.
Naturally they need a replacement source to not ony continue their schemes but it's likely they'll need to use some of it to help debt service the prior shams.

Collect the tolls and tell people they're for specific and restricted uses, then skim off millions for reasonable administration and management costs and keep playing.

Bottom line, these people running the city, region and State, for decades, have proven over and over again they cannot be trusted.

Cart before the horse indeed. I too would not be terribly opposed to congestion pricing, but given the current rate of decline of our mass transit system (outside of Sam Adams's "ecodistricts," I mean), Jack's vision of mandatory neighborhood isolation is not that farfetched.

I live in a portion of NE Portland where two bus routes have been axed entirely, and where the new Infrequent Service lines aren't exactly working out very well.

And, guess what? Suddenly, this fall, I have been driving a lot more than I used to.

If this happens it just seals the deal that I'll be moving away from the metro area.

"...notes that the other cities used to model congestion pricing are from Europe, and the consultant specifically notes London"

When are we going to realize that Portland Oregon is not anything like world-class cities. I love it here. Portland is great. But it isn't London, or Amersterdam, or even Copenhagen. it's a medium-size city in a podunk state.

These transportation nazis must be stopped. I have to have faith that they're going to drop one of these things on the public (who knows, maybe tolling is the straw), and the masses are finally going to wake up to how off-the-rails our sheep-like dogmatic liberalism has gotten us.

Apparently, our elected officials don't feel they've been successful enough in chasing the tax base out town.

Never forget that the only thing "green" in the ecosphere is the cash going into the proponents pockets.

Whenever I can now I avoid shopping or doing business in Portland. Shop the suburbs, Milwaukie, Clackamas and Washington counties. I love to support smart, fair green ideas but not someone else's utopian dream. I'm glad to see the response on this post of Jack's overwhelmingly in support.

And Jack, an angry no vote won't fix these problems and I'm sure you do understand that. It is maddening for one segment of our society to impose their religion (green, a religion) on all of us. The Crusades were 800 years ago and we're still in the same mode. I'm talking here about the crusades against "heretics" like the Cathar Christians (eliminated) and the Bohemian Christians (they beat off the crusaders.)

Well folks we left town in mid-November and I can't really say I'm missing the utterly stupid politics of Oregon at all.
The fact that they are trying to impose tolls on a 1960s-era freeway system shows how worthless these people in Salem really are. Here in the Reno area I've seen more actual road construction going on than I've seen in Oregon in all of 2009.

Interesting analysis of the inelasticity of driving in the US here:

As a friend points out "The problem with inelastic things is that they are brittle and eventually break. We don't know where that happens -- $6/gallon, $8/gallon or where, but it's there."

Here's a question for the tax professor: wouldn't those tolls be tax-deductible for commuting and other work-related travel?

So there might be a small consolation. But of course the tolls would also impact drivers traveling for pleasure and shopping, which can only hurt shopping districts (downtown or in the suburbs) dependent on auto traffic. Online retailers and stores that offer home delivery (e.g., New Seasons) will make a killing.

E mail early.

E mail often.

E mail your state rep and state senator and ask them how they voted on the bill which contained the toll "experiment".

Remember the answer in November 2010.

You can find out who your state rep and state senator are at:

Yeah, this will go over about as big as the sales tax idea...

"Vehicles more than 10,000 pounds would be exempt." Can a Prius or Volt be retrofitted to weigh Five Tons?

Any service like gutter cleaning, roto-rooting, pest control, yard maintenance and deliveries of pizza, flowers and Chinese food is going to cost a bunch more. These small businesses won’t be able to afford to absorb these fees.

Jantzen Beach Shopping Center was created to take advantage of the sales tax diffence between Oregon and Washington. When the new toll is imposed and Jantzen Beach reverts to a sandbar, where will Mayor Adams go to not drive drunk with his shorts unbuttoned?

It's just nickels and dimes until they sell a toll road off to a private company--then your talking real money.

"When the new toll is imposed and Jantzen Beach reverts to a sandbar...."

SHHHHHH! Never hint about large tracks of "redevelopable" land to City Hall or the PDC. That stuff is like crack to them....

I am sure they will find a way to make only business and the rich pay. That seems to be the answer to all problems today.

The idea of road tolling was supposed to eventually replace the outdated system of gas taxes and provide a more dynamic, demand-responsive method of paying the costs of motorized travel and funding road construction. Naturally politicians are turning this concept on its head to impose yet more taxes on the public to build streetcar monuments and other expensive toys for yuppies.

If you're interested in learning more about the history of HB 2001 go to:

i have a better idea why dont the state and the city of portland take the millions of dollars they annually waste on 100,000 dollar and outside consultants that never save them one penny and put that money to good use and fix our roads and make them safer?and please for once quit trying to appease the whiny greedy bicyclist crowd.

Here's a question for the tax professor: wouldn't those tolls be
tax-deductible for commuting and other work-related travel?

Commuting costs are nondeductible personal expenses.

Their dirty little secret is that mass transit uses MORE ENERGY than a small car to carry each person, each mile.
If we all switched to transit, we'd all be broke paying the massive tax increase to pay the 80% of the cost that is paid by taxes, NOT users. (Users only pay 20% of the actual cost.)

Transit costs more, uses more energy and is slower. What's the social good here?


Light rail takes 30 from Expo to downtown,
C-Tran bus takes 15 min from Vancouver.
(During AM rush hour)

Why would anyone take The proposed MAX from Vancouver when the bus is twice as fast?

Jim asks: "Why would anyone take The proposed MAX from Vancouver when the bus is twice as fast?"

Because there wikk not be a "bus" alternate or option.

Look at any iteration of the "toonerville Trolley". Red, Green, Blue or Yellow Line Max has resulted in the deconstruction of bus service within two miles either side of the "TT".

Tri Met has no interest in operating bus lines.

Why would anyone propose a double tax that hurts the working poor the most who are racing up the FEDERAL INTERSTATE from job to job?

Toll roads with gasoline taxes = Double tax

Furthermore, this presents a Constitutional question when it is a FEDERAL interstate built with FEDERAL funding.The freaking nerve from a libertarian based idea.

If the bridge over the Columbia river is 95% FEDERALLY funded, then does that mean 95% of the Toll road proceeds go to the Feds?

For those who are interested, here are the votes on HB 2001:

Senate (24-6)
Ayes: Bates (D), Bonamici (D), Burdick (D), Courtney (D), Devlin (D), Dingfelder (D), Edwards (D), George (R), Hass (D), Johnson (D), Metsger (D), Monnes Anderson (D), Monroe (D), Morrisette (D), Morse (R), Nelson (R), Prozanski (D), Rosenbaum (D), Schrader (D), Shields (D), Starr (R), Telfer (R), Verger (R), Winters (R).

Nays: Atkinson (R), Boquist (R), Ferrioli (R), Girod (R), Kruse (R), Whitsett (R)

House (38-22)
Ayes: Bailey (D), Barker (D), Barnhart (D), Barton (D), Bentz (R), Berger (R), Beyer (D), Boone (D), Bruun (R), Buckley (D), Cowan (D), Dembrow (D), Doherty (D), Edwards (D), Esquivel (R), Frederick (D), Garrett (D), Gelser (D), Gilman (R), Greenlick (D), Holvey (D), Hoyle (D), Hunt (D), Jenson (R), Kahl (D), Komp (D), Kotek (D), Matthews (D), Nathanson (D), Read (D), Riley (D), Roblan (D), Schaufler (D), G. Smith (R), Stiegler (D), Tomei (D), VanOrman (D), Witt (D)

Nays: Cameron (R), Cannon (D), Clem (D), Freeman (R), Garrard (R), Gilliam (R), Hanna (R), Harker (D), Huffman (R), Kennemer (R), Krieger (R), Maurer (R), Nolan (D), Olson (R), Richardson (R), J. Smith (D), Sprenger (R), Thatcher (R), Thompson (R), Weidner (R), Whisnant (R), Wingard (R).

RyanLeo: Why would anyone propose a double tax that hurts the working poor the most who are racing up the FEDERAL INTERSTATE from job to job?
JK: Because the number one priority of local politicians is to spend lots on money on light rail so that they will gets lots of money in campaign contribution in return. See

They suck in people by pretending that light rail helps the environment, while actually small cars use less energy, cost less and get you there faster. Then they say if we just got more density transit would work, but that is also a lie when you look at the actual numbers from big city transit systems. See And building density requires subsidies which brings in more campaign donations from those builders that feed at the subsidy trough.

RyanLeo: If the bridge over the Columbia river is 95% FEDERALLY funded, then does that mean 95% of the Toll road proceeds go to the Feds?
JK: The scheme with the tolls is to apply tolls to the local match required for transit. But to get enough money they need high tolls, hence the mega project where a simple bridge will do. Not enough toll money with a simple ½-3/4 Billion bridge project - have to run up the cost so the tolls will be high enough to count as the local match for light rail.

That the politicians would bankrupt working class families with tolls up to $4000 per year to finance useless light rail tells us volumes about the utter lack of caring about people exhibited by people like Sam, Rex, Royce and Earl. They are truly heartless, uncaring people.


But I thought our roads were socialist roads? I guess now that a capitalist road system will be in place, the tea bagger mindsets will be happy?

"But I thought our roads were socialist roads? I guess now that a capitalist road system will be in place, the tea bagger mindsets will be happy?"

Fine. Remove the fuel tax then, and make sure that any mileage tax garnered from the toll system cannot be diverted to anything else than road maintenance and construction.

Then I'd be happy.

@Dave A.: "Here in the Reno area"

Oh, *that* veritable paradise...

But I thought our roads were socialist roads? I guess now that a capitalist road system will be in place, the tea bagger mindsets will be happy?

This is not a captialist system. The most likely outcome is that government will own the roads and use the toll system as a cash cow to pay for more streetcars, bike lanes and other "greenery".

Ironically, implementing cordon tolls in downtown Portland will probably do more to increase transit ridership than any of the MAX extensions, and at a fraction of the cost.


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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
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Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
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