Jaime Herrera Beutler highlights mounting concerns from Vancouver City Council over Oregon’s tolling scheme

In congresswoman’s letter to ODOT Director Kris Strickler, she highlighted the fact that implementing a tolling program, as well as ‘congestion pricing’ on I-5 and I-205 would punish Southwest Washington residents

VANCOUVER – Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler sent a letter this week to the head of the Oregon Department of Transportation echoing growing concerns – vocalized in a recent Vancouver City Council meeting by elected officials – over Oregon’s congestion pricing scheme that would disproportionately harm Southwest Washington commuters.

In Herrera Beutler’s letter to Oregon Department of Transportation Director Kris Strickler, she highlighted the fact that implementing a tolling program, as well as “congestion pricing,” on I-5 and I-205 would punish Southwest Washington residents, particularly those who aren’t able to telecommute and must be at their place of employment at a certain time.

The full text of the letter follows, and a PDF is available here.

Dear Director Strickler,

In Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler’s letter to ODOT Director Kris Strickler, she highlighted the fact that implementing a tolling program, as well as “congestion pricing’’ on I-5 and I-205 would punish Southwest Washington residents.
Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler

I write to echo the concerns expressed by members of the Vancouver City Council at the meeting held on August 9th, and to ask for answers and clarification. I find it particularly troubling that the tolling proposals presented to the Council seem to expressly target Southwest Washington residents while providing them with few, if any, benefits. The worst off will be those hardworking residents who don’t have the luxury of choosing to telecommute – they must be at their place of employment when the shop opens for business or the school bell rings.

According to media reports, Councilor Stober expressed concerns about the motives behind the Oregon tolling plan when he pointed out that a disproportionate share of the tolling burden will fall on the routes most used by Southwest Washington residents. I have made similar statements since the inception of the tolling plan, and I am deeply concerned that such an unfair system will not only inflict needless harm on Southwest Washington commuters but jeopardize cooperation between our two states on important future transportation priorities.

Councilors Paulsen and Hansen reportedly took issue with the unfairness of “congestion pricing” and the difficulties such a system causes for low-income workers, most of whom cannot be flexible when they commute. I have long contended that congestion pricing will amount to a deeply regressive tax, with the poor subsidizing the wealthy who are far more often able to adjust their commute times to lower-cost, lower-traffic periods.

Mayor McEnerney-Ogle reportedly spoke about the problems caused by Oregon’s inability to share any of the tolling revenue with CTRAN despite CTRAN’s crucial role in alleviating congestion. She’s right.

A tolling program on I-5 and I-205, which specifically punishes Southwest Washington commuters while providing them with minimal infrastructure benefits, is neither an acceptable nor fair solution to the Portland region’s myriad of transportation needs. Given that Portland has the eighth worst traffic congestion in the nation, have ODOT officials stated how much their tolling efforts will actually reduce the time spent in traffic for Southwest Washington commuters?

I would appreciate your response to all of these concerns.

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kelly L
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kelly L
1 month ago

Congresswoman Beutler’s newfound concern for regressive tax structures is beyond ironic. However, Washington workers already pay income tax to the state of Oregon without any representation within that state for how our tax money is spent. Combine this with the fact that the continually increasing business taxes in Multnomah County and the City of Portland should be driving business across the river to a more profitable location and it should be obvious to the Oregon advocates that biting the hand that drives their economy is just bad business.

RICHARD
Guest
RICHARD
30 days ago
Reply to  kelly L

work where you live.Washington loses out on so much from out of state workers, and there is plenty of housing in oregon

Business Owner Contributing to Vancouver, WA
Guest
Business Owner Contributing to Vancouver, WA
30 days ago
Reply to  RICHARD

What about do business where you live? Portlanders that live in Portland own businesses in Vancouver, WA that are currently contributing to its “Renaissance”. Just like the bridges-Economy goes both ways. Be informed.

RICHARD
Guest
RICHARD
29 days ago

I am, thank you though. Do you pay your people the prevailing living wage?
Doubt it, lol. Stay in Oregon.

Business Owner Contributing to Vancouver, WA
Guest
Business Owner Contributing to Vancouver, WA
29 days ago
Reply to  RICHARD

Well, you made this easy. Of course I do. Much more than many local Vancouverites that own businesses-but I don’t hold that against them. I understand their trials and tribulations and frequently share how I am able to pay more than a fair wage and I learn from them too. We work together to make the community better. So in other words Dick- stop trolling and contribute to the conversation. Insults go both ways too 😀

Scott Snow Wolf
Guest
Scott Snow Wolf
1 month ago

If the greedy bastards in Oregon push tolling though, the federal government should then withhold federal funding since both I-5 and I-205 are federally funded Interstate (FREEWAY) Roads.

ODOT is the most dysfunctional transportation department in the country. No other state in the union would leave motorists stranded for 3 days on I-84 in the dead of winter because they neglected to plow a 20 mile section of a federally funded Interstate.

Stan
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Stan
1 month ago

If they put up toll booths. Then close i5 i205 at the border with never ending road construction. Basically ending the road across the river.

Scott Snow Wolf
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Scott Snow Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Stan

Better than that put toll booth on Washington side and Tax cars with Oregon plates at double the Oregon toll.

The MOBO
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The MOBO
1 month ago

Bypass the tolling and ride your bike.

Scott Snow Wolf
Guest
Scott Snow Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  The MOBO

Bikes need to be taxed for road use. They use the roads that vehicles do, seldom obey the traffic laws and impede vehicular traffic while paying nothing to use them. Bikes are parasites.

RICHARD
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RICHARD
30 days ago

yuuuuuuup

Michael H
Guest
Michael H
30 days ago
Reply to  The MOBO

It’s hard to discern whether you’re being flippant or attempting to be serious.

Let’s take serious for a moment: Why don’t you tell all the workers and commuters that need to get from Vancouver to Portland and must drive five, 10, 15 mi each way a day, in a wide range of weather, to ride a bike. Add to that parents trying to get kids to school and/or to clinics when they are sick. Shall these parents expect their children to ride bikes with them, or, if too young, shall they connect trailers to their bikes and pedal a number of miles, again in a wide range of weather, and risk their children’s lives on the roads? It’s a green fantasy, but it’s just not practical. A far more robust and efficient and deeply embedded mass rapid transit system, including more buses and routes, is the answer to less cars.

Robert H
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Robert H
30 days ago
Reply to  Michael H

Ummm Europeans ride their bikes every day all year WITH their family’s and children in trailers or specialized bikes. Spend any time over seas and you will easily see it is possible.

Michael H
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Michael H
29 days ago
Reply to  Robert H

Ummm…. I have been overseas. The scenarios you describe are far from universal, and typically more in concentrated city areas. Persons in smaller towns aren’t pedaling into larger cities en masse, with families and kids, for work or medical help. And, also generally speaking, their mass transit systems, both bus and rail, are much more well established and supplement the cyclists as needed much better than here. High speed rail especially.

RICHARD
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RICHARD
29 days ago
Reply to  Michael H

Easy, they live in the state they work.

Dap
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Dap
1 month ago

We already get DBL Taxed!!!
we have to pay OR’s income tax + WA’s sales tax & shouldn’t be punished any More, when its OR. Receiving the benefits to their businesses & evonomy!

EXPAND the current bridges to 5 lanes… simply adding to Them is cheaper than building new bridges. and give ALL Bus & train lines access to both sides!

RICHARD
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RICHARD
30 days ago
Reply to  Dap

work in the state you live. problem solved.

David
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David
30 days ago
Reply to  Dap

I am sure that you have shopped in Oregon to avoid paying said sales taxes

Oregonian for life
Guest
Oregonian for life
29 days ago
Reply to  David

No doubt just look at the Costco parking lot in portland along with clackamas town center and others and see all the Washington license plates.

David Harrington
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David Harrington
1 month ago

Congresswoman Beutler’s newfound concern for regressive tax structures is beyond ironic.

Jennifer Nieboer
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Jennifer Nieboer
1 month ago

I’ll pay the tolls if I get to deduct them, dollar for dollar, off the taxes I ALREADY pay to a state I don’t live in. Especially since they claim that my tax money is being used for the roads I’m driving on when in Oregon.

Kat
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Kat
1 month ago

So… Don’t work in Oregon? What a hilarious complaint. You all gripe about how you think Oregon policies aren’t business friendly, so surely you can find employment in your own state 😂

RICHARD
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RICHARD
30 days ago
Reply to  Kat

FACTS

She Persisted
Guest
She Persisted
30 days ago

Oregon income taxes do not fund roads. Unless you buy gas in Oregon, you don’t contribute to the maintenance, repair or construction of roads you use to get to work.
If you don’t want to pay Oregon taxes, get a job in Washington. And don’t forget to support your local retailer instead of sales tax dodging in Oregon.

Jennifer Nieboer
Guest
Jennifer Nieboer
30 days ago
Reply to  She Persisted

Great, let’s move the airport across the river to WA. I wanted to live in OR but couldn’t find a decent, affordable house within reasonable commuting of the airport. I could in Vancouver. I accepted the fact that I would be paying income tax to a state I don’t live in. I use the 205 bridge and Airport way to go to my job at a business that generates millions of dollars for the state. I stay in WA to do my shopping and pay sales tax to my state. Most of the year I ride a motorcycle to work minimizing my impact on the roads and traffic. So whether my taxes go to the roads or not, (and what is this TRANSIT TAX that I pay every year for if not the roads?), tolls are still double taxation without any representation. If tolling goes through, they should be a credit against our OR taxes.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
30 days ago

I am sure you are quite capable of taking care of the incarcerated persons in the prison system, and your also able to work at the hospitals saving people’s lives. A lot of us moved away from Oregon because the housing market is so redeculus and after living 44 years in Oregon..Plus the crime in Oregon is horrible the governor is a joke.

Jennifer Nieboer
Guest
Jennifer Nieboer
30 days ago
Reply to  Anonymous

What??

Better than this
Guest
Better than this
29 days ago
Reply to  Anonymous

what are you talking about?

She Persisted
Guest
She Persisted
1 month ago

So, get a job in Washington! Problem(s) solved.

RICHARD
Guest
RICHARD
30 days ago
Reply to  She Persisted

or even better….make them move back to oregon

Deepak Saxena
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Deepak Saxena
30 days ago

I’d you don’t want to pay tolls, live and work on Oregon. Easy.

Jennifer Nieboer
Guest
Jennifer Nieboer
30 days ago
Reply to  Deepak Saxena

Um, you DO know that the bridges aren’t the only thing they are talking about tolling, right? That freeways driven mostly on by Oregonians will also have tolls? And I do work in Oregon, I just can’t afford to live there.

Kristin G.
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Kristin G.
30 days ago

Those that use the bridges should pay for them, regardless of where they live.

Sue Teso
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Sue Teso
30 days ago

Tolling is a huge mistake for Washington and Oregon. It does nothing to help the traffic problems. One problem I haven’t heard addressed yet is how this affects the 3000- 4000 people who live on Hayden Island. They have to go on the highway for everything, Even a grocery store. Are they exempt? It’s the little things that make a big difference.

Goldie Mc Goldie
Guest
Goldie Mc Goldie
30 days ago
Reply to  Sue Teso

Poor house boats residents. I lose sleep every night for these saints.

Better than this
Guest
Better than this
29 days ago

There aren’t only houseboat residents. There are rentals there as well. Way to be snooty.

Goldie Mc Goldie
Guest
Goldie Mc Goldie
30 days ago

Paying to use roads is plain wrong. I should be allowed to benefit from a population paying their fair share without my own ante. I don’t need public schools or regional highways because I live in a cul de sac. I bought this Escalade to move my 3 kids to school and I deserve it. My husband makes incredible money building project housing. I don’t care one iota about city planning. My strand board project housing is perfect. My house looks exactly like every other box in my HOA and that’s the way I like it. Tax free and without individuality! Perfect! F everyone else! We’re rich! No social responsibility!

RICHARD
Guest
RICHARD
30 days ago

PERFECTLY STATED. I actually know this woman, a few of them. They LOVE to point out how wealthy they are and how nothing affects them, until that low income housing falls down and the bums camp in her precious culdesac

RICHARD
Guest
RICHARD
30 days ago

We need it. We have too many out of state residents who live here, but work and play in Oregon and other states. We are getting no benefits from the flood of people other than real estate taxes. And they are a drain on our city resources.

If you want avoid taxes by playing the vehicle and ID tax game, live here and pay no taxes, work and pay taxes to oregon, or California or wherever they are from, then you should live in the city you work in. Get out washington is full.

Do the toll both ways and it will be fine everyone wins

Goldie Mc Goldie
Guest
Goldie Mc Goldie
30 days ago
Reply to  RICHARD

Exactly! Work and play in your own abode. Benefit benefit benefit. Don’t take and complain. You’re a good person Richard.

KEN
Guest
KEN
30 days ago

Oregon is out of control to make people pay thats called Double Taxing is that illegal? Either way during tough times and tougher times ahead in life people don’t have the extra money to pay for toll, Also charging a Toll on the I-205 is a scam that bridge is payed for thats like theft charging for a paid structure also will hurt local businesses less people will come to Oregon due to the hassle of fees and congestion it will cause so when considering the fee take time to consider the businesses that will be effected do to this bad plan. People need to stand up and stop letting the government tell you what to do when it comes to bad ideas remember Us tax payers pay there wages keep our Country FREE stand up for our rights

Thom
Guest
Thom
30 days ago

Disproportionately punish?? South Washington residents are the sole reason for the logjams that occur everyday on I-5 and 205, and also take full advantage of Oregon’s lack of a Sales tax. Create more businesses in South Washington if you truly want to help your residents. Otherwise, I fully support the tolls.

Jennifer Nieboer
Guest
Jennifer Nieboer
30 days ago
Reply to  Thom

How does a Washingtonian “taking advantage” of the lack of sales tax in Oregon, hurt OREGON? Maybe most feel that since they are already paying taxes to Oregon they are entitled to that perk. Personally, I shop in Washington. I cross into OR to work, because sadly for me, that’s where the airport is, and I stay home on my weekends.

RICHARD
Guest
RICHARD
29 days ago

We could do special busses, load all the people who work and play in oregon into busses, drive them over every other hour and dump them at a max stop. But everyone who works in oregon and lives here has to do it no exceptions -rich, poor, all of ’em. Let the CEO sit with his minimum wage workers and not feel ashamed lol

Hermm
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Hermm
29 days ago

How about a metal fence to keep all Portlanders out of Vancouver! We don’t need their anti-police, pro-homeless, everyone’s a victim mentality here!

Lori
Guest
Lori
29 days ago

Oregon has one of the highest state income taxes in the nation plus they already charge a transit tax for SW Washington commuters. Why don’t they use some of that to take care of their transportation needs.

Tuyaw
Guest
Tuyaw
29 days ago

All of these Oregon people move to Washington and continue to work in Oregon. Then they complain about traffic and paying tolls. Why don’t you all just move on back over to Oregon. Then you won’t have to change your Oregon license plate that many of you are cheating on and not changing to the Washington license plate.

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