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News Release
City of West Linn logo
City of West Linn logo
Survey of Portland Metro Voter Attitudes About ODOT Tolling Available (Photo) - 02/26/24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – The cities of West Linn, Oregon City, Tualatin, and Wilsonville, along with the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 555, sponsored an independent survey of voters in the Portland metro region (Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties) February 7-13, 2024, to assess public attitudes about ODOT’s tolling proposals. The survey was conducted by DHM Research, a leading public opinion research firm based in Portland. Results provide, for the first time, an accurate understanding of public sentiments about tolling and its potential impacts. 

The entire report is publicly available here. Below are key findings. The margin of error is +/- 4.0%. 

  • Voters are concerned about major roads and highways in the region. 74% of voters region-wide say that they are concerned about the quality of major roads in the region, and 81% are concerned about traffic congestion.
  • Voters are opposed to the concept of tolling in the Portland Metro region. Overall, 76% of voters oppose tolling.  Opposition to tolling is highest in Clackamas County at 91%, followed by Washington County at 76% opposed, and Multnomah County at 69% opposed.
  • Voters also specifically oppose ODOT’s Regional Mobility Pricing Project (RMPP) and the I-205 Toll Project. After being provided a description of the tolling projects, 71% oppose Regional Mobility Pricing, and 64% oppose the I-205 Toll Project. Only 8% of voters strongly support the RMPP and only 11% of voters strongly support tolling at the Abernethy Bridge.
  • Opposition to tolling in Multnomah and Washington County corresponds to voters’ proximity to potential tolls, highlighting that more voters oppose tolls proposed to be nearer to them. When presented with the I-205 Abernethy Bridge Toll Project in Clackamas County, 53% of Multnomah County voters and 64% of Washington County voters were in opposition. After being presented with the tolling concepts on Highways 217 and 26 being studied by ODOT, 70% of Multnomah County voters and 80% of Washington County voters opposed those tolls.
  • Voters say they are opposed to tolling because of costs and affordability, indicating that they do not believe that tolling is equitable. When asked why, voters most often cited affordability, including the perception of already paying high taxes (41%) and the belief that tolls would disproportionately burden low-income drivers (19%). 83% of voters agreed that tolls would place an unfair burden on people who don’t have options to shift travel patterns. 82% of voters say that public transit would not provide a viable alternative to avoid tolls. 80% of respondents cited increased traffic congestion and safety issues on local roads as concerns.
  • Most voters in the region report being aware of ODOT’s tolling proposals, but few have engaged in the decision-making process. 61% of voters have heard about ODOT’s tolling proposals, but only 6% have attended any public meetings about the proposals, and 13% have provided ODOT with any feedback about them.
  • To pay for transportation improvements in the region, voters support increasing registration fees on electric vehicles but oppose other methods. 61% support increasing registration fees for electric vehicles; 36% support increasing registration fees for all vehicles; 33% support increasing gas taxes; 24% support a pay-per-mile system that would charge drivers a few cents per mile.
     

In summary, the poll results show that residents, workers, and businesses have real concerns about the region’s transportation system and that tolling is perceived by a large majority of voters across the region as harmful and inequitable. When combined with the significant startup and administrative overhead costs that tolling requires, these poll results indicate that other revenue approaches would not only be fairer with less negative impacts to communities, but also would be more popular and more efficient with community tax dollars. 

Our cities and UFCW Local 555 strongly support investments in transportation infrastructure. We look forward to continued dialog with our communities, ODOT, and the State Legislature to find fair and equitable solutions.

 

Media inquiries: dchoi@westlinnoregon.gov or 971-303-1236.
Learn more: https://westlinnoregon.gov/citycouncil/i-205-regional-tolling-survey-results

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