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Searching for Equitable Road Pricing in Portland

A new task force is being assembled in Portland to implement new road pricing mechanisms that convinces people to ditch their cars for more efficient modes of travel, while also ensuring low-income communities don't bear too much of the burden.
July 11, 2019, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Dee Browning

The Portland City Council this week approved a plan "to study short-and-long-term strategies to charge people to use city streets, an effort intended to reduce congestion and curb carbon emissions as the region expects as many as 500,000 new residents by 2040," reports Andrew Theen.

The Pricing for Equitable Mobility task force will be tasked with recommending a pricing scheme from among a number of options: "cordon pricing, a potential fee for Uber and Lyft fares, more demand-based parking pricing, and potentially a local fee to charge drivers based on how many miles they drive."

According to Theen, the city and state have been building momentum for new pricing scheme on roads around Portland for a few years, but substantive progress has been hard to come by. "The Legislature in 2017 also kickstarted a plan to study whether and how to charge drivers on Interstate 5 and 205 in the Portland area. The state has since applied for tolling approval from the federal government," reports Theen.

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