Portland Ready to Experiment With New Forms of Road Pricing

A new task force formed in Portland, Oregon will consider ways to make automobile use more expensive, including parking pricing, area and time-based fees, fleet charges, road user charges, cordons, and freeway pricing.

October 21, 2019, 1:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Downtown Portland

4kclips / Shutterstock

The city of Portland is organizing a new Pricing for Equitable Mobility Community Task Force, tasked with developing new policies that will more fairly price the cost of automobiles on public roads, according to an article by Jonathan Maus. The task force will be a joint effort headed by the Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS).

"PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly is a major fan of congestion pricing so it should come as no surprise that she’s looking for policy and public backing to strengthen its case," explains Maus of some of the political will driving the formation of the new task force.

The city is following in the footsteps of the state of Oregon, which approved legislation in 02017 mandating the Oregon Department of Transportation to move forward with congestion pricing. "Their plan to toll I-5 and I-205 was sent to the Federal Highway Administration in December 2018," according to Maus. (Planetizen correspondent Irvin Dawid also gathered information on that plan in 2018.)

Portland's exploration into new pricing schemes are expected to be much more expansive. "In a statement, Portland said strategies that will be considered by the task force may include, but are not limited to: 'parking pricing, area and time-based fees, fleet charges, road user charges, cordons [priced zones], freeway pricing and more'."

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