Earlier this year the Oregon Legislature approved a new transportation budget that calls for the state to toll Interstates 5 and 205 at the Oregon-Washington border. Under the legislation, Oregon would need to request federal approval to implement the tolls by 2018.
I joined a group of Southwest Washington lawmakers and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler in sending a letter to Governor Jay Inslee encouraging him to engage on the issue to protect Washington drivers from the cost increase, including those who use the bridges daily to commute to work.
According to census data, 74,000 Washington residents utilize the I-5 and I-205 bridges to get to work in Oregon every day.
While the tolling effort is still in an early stage, it’s important for Washington residents to have a voice and advocate in the process. Given the interstate angle, this is a critical function of our governor to fulfill, but we’ve yet to hear him weigh in on the situation.
Moving forward, our state must take an active role in the planning and decision-making process to ensure Washington residents are protected from increased costs that would not necessarily benefit them.