U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler says any attempt by Oregon lawmakers to toll I-5 and I-205 is ‘unfair in the extreme’

Ken Vance
Ken Vance

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler has weighed in on the issue of Oregon’s plan to toll drivers on I-5 and I-205.

And, she says that she’s got the backs of Southwest Washington residents.

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler

Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) penned a letter dated July 20, 2017. The letter was sent Thursday to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Matthew Garrett, director of  the Oregon Department of Transportation.

“It is my understanding that the State of Oregon is developing a plan that may include the imposition of tolls on Interstate Highways 5 and 205,’’ Herrera Beutler wrote. “In the interest of avoiding any future conflict, I write to make my position clear.

Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) penned a letter dated July 20, 2017. The letter was sent Thursday to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Matthew Garrett, director of  the Oregon Department of Transportation. Click to read letter.
Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) penned a letter dated July 20, 2017. The letter was sent Thursday to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Matthew Garrett, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation. Click to read letter.

“I do not oppose the concept of a fee paid by the users of a resource and allocated toward the construction, maintenance or upkeep of that resource,’’ Herrera Beutler continued. “However, any attempt to levy tolls on I-5 or I-205 at the Washington State line, the lion’s share of which would be paid by Washington commuters, in order to pay for infrastructure improvements south of Portland that would rarely be used by the vast majority of those paying the tolls, would be unfair in the extreme. Oregon has no right to make Southwest Washington an unwilling piggy bank for Oregon’s infrastructure projects.

“Since both I-5 and I-205 are Interstate Highways, there is a federal interest,’’ she added. “As a Member of Congress, I will defend Southwest Washington residents from any unfair tolling plan using every appropriate means at my disposal.’’

Oregon lawmakers recently approved a $5.3 billion transportation bill that included plans to toll drivers on both I-5 and I-205, starting at the Washington border and continuing south to the point the two interstates connect south of Portland. In order for the tolling plan to be implemented, Oregon would need to acquire approval from the Federal Highway Administration prior to the end of 2018.

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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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