Commission Advances Ambitious Low-Income Toll Program

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Commission Advances Ambitious Low-Income Toll Program

Dec. 13, 2023

For more information, contact Anna Howe, 503-877-7101

SALEM -- The Oregon Transportation Commission met Tuesday, Dec. 12 for a meeting to discuss the Oregon Toll Program and ODOT’s Strategic Action Plan. The commission decided to advance key elements of the low-income toll program and a report requested by Gov. Tina Kotek. Watch a recording of the meeting here.

Low-Income Toll Program on Track to Set National Precedent

There are more than 300 toll programs in the United States, and Oregon will be the first in the nation to have a low-income toll program on day one of operations. This program will serve low-income travelers who cannot change their travel schedules or who travel frequently on the interstates. Importantly, the program will balance impacts to other travelers while still achieving overall program goals to reduce traffic congestion and raise revenue for transportation improvements.

The commission approved several elements to advance the low-income toll program and a draft set of administrative rules for public feedback in 2024. The drafts were developed following more than a year of study and input from two advisory committees and thousands of public comments.

Key commitments include:

  • Provide customers living in Oregon or Washington whose household income is up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level at least a 50% discount on tolls.
  • Analyze whether additional discounts for households earning up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level can be offered and still meet the toll program’s congestion management, revenue, safety, and equity goals.
  • Exempt members of specified federally recognized tribes and tribal government vehicles from paying tolls, in recognition of their sovereignty and to provide access to historic lands. Extending this to a number of tribal governments, beyond what had been guaranteed in federal treaties, would be a first in the nation.
  • Exempt public transit, military, and emergency response vehicles.

The draft rules will be published in 2024 for public review and comment following legal review. In addition to discounts and exemptions, the draft rules cover the toll rate-setting process, toll payment compliance, and maintaining customer privacy and enrollment. Final adoption is expected in mid-2024.

Commission Approves Toll Report for Governor Kotek

The commission also approved the submittal of a tolling implementation report requested by Governor Kotek. The report summarizes past actions and the sequence of steps ahead to address concerns related to equitable benefits, diversion onto local streets from the interstates, allocation of net revenue generated from tolls, and ongoing transparency and accountability.

Commission members emphasized the need to address the concerns of the region without taking tolling off the table. “When you look at what’s left to be done, there is a lot of room in here for comments, discussion, a thoughtful process," said Commissioner Jeff Baker about the report. 

You can read a draft of the report here. The final report will be sent to the governor by Dec. 15.

The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 24, 2024, in Salem. Sign up to receive automatic emails about the commission and its work on the website