Council Corner: April 2022

100

At the March 7, 2022 Tualatin City Council meeting, ODOT gave a presentation with updates to the I-205 Improvement Project. The purpose of this project is to fund improvements, including the addition of a third lane in each direction on I-205 between Stafford Road and OR 99E and upgrading the Abernethy Bridge to be the first earthquake-ready interstate structure across the Willamette River. What makes this project unique is that it will be the first project funded with tolling revenue as authorized by Oregon House Bill 2017.  

Scheduled to begin toward the end of 2024, variable rate tolling would be implemented along the seven mile stretch from Stafford Road to OR 213 in Oregon City. Tolling gantries, where the fees are charged, would be at two locations on I-205; at the Abernethy Bridge in Oregon City and at the bridge over the Tualatin River, just east of the Stafford Road on-ramp.  

At the meeting, Tualatin City Councilors again voiced concerns to ODOT about the traffic that will divert off I-205 and use surface streets to avoid the toll, especially at 65th and Borland Road. Additional concerns expressed included the lack of public transportation and biking/pedestrian routes along this corridor, the financial equity of tolling, no data on tolling effects in the near term, and lack of information on how tolling revenues will be used once the listed projects are completed.

The next step in the process for ODOT is to conduct a formal environmental review process studying the effects of tolling along this corridor. The completed environmental review is expected to be completed in the latter part of 2023. If the environmental report is favorable, this project would then be moved forward for federal approval.

Mayor Bubenik, Councilor Sacco, and I serve on various committees that discuss transportation issues, including tolling. We will continue to advocate for Tualatin and seek ODOT’s assurances that they will be part of the solutions to lessen the effects that traffic diversion due to tolling will have on our community.  

Tualatin City Council welcomes your input on this, and any other issues that affect our city.  We can be reached at council@tualatin.gov. You can also submit comments directly to ODOT regarding the I-205 Tolling Project by clicking on the “contact us” button at Oregon.gov/odot/tolling.