What would you pay to cross a new I-5 bridge?

| 11/17/2009

If and when a new Interstate 5 bridge is built over the Columbia River, truck tolls would range from $4 to $24 depending on which tolling scenario is chosen by officials. The public has one more chance to influence the choice before the final report is sent to the Oregon and Washington state legislatures.

The Columbia River Crossing Tolling Study Committee meets Dec. 7 to discuss proposed tolling scenarios. The public is invited to comment one more time.

The committee has developed six possible tolling scenarios from which a recommendation will emerge.

Under most scenarios offered, toll rates would vary depending on time of day and traffic flow. The highest tolls would occur during the most congested times of day. This is known as congestion pricing.

The committee is calculating tolls for heavy commercial vehicles at four times the rate for passenger vehicles, with extra charges for vehicles that do not have electronic tolling transponders.

Here’s an example of tolling as outlined in Scenario 2: Passenger vehicles would pay $1 during off-peak hours and up to $3 during rush hour. Trucks would pay $4 during off-peak hours and $12 during the busiest times of day.

The highest toll rates are found in Scenario 4, under which a passenger vehicle would pay up to $6 and commercial trucks would pay $24 to cross during peak times.

Making your voice heard could influence the choice that is about to be made by officials. Plan to attend the public meeting, send your comments via e-mail to feedback@columbiarivercrossing.org or call 866-396-2716.

The public meeting is 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday, Dec. 7, 2009, at the following address:

Washington State Department of Transportation
SW Region, Room 102
11018 NE 51st Circle,
Vancouver, WA

The project Web site is www.columbiarivercrossing.com. Additional meeting materials will be posted online Nov. 30.

The Tolling Study Committee intends to send its final report to Washington and Oregon transportation commissions and state legislatures in January 2010.

– By David Tanner, staff writer