Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Return of Duel Tolling on 99W

The Oregon Transportation Improvement group has issued a report suggesting a solution to the Dundee bottleneck problem. Their solution? Gouge the motorists and kill the town of Dundee.
While it throws cold water on the idea of tolling local Highway 99W traffic to prevent motorists from using it as a free alternative, that's unlikely to douse a firestorm of opposition ignited by the idea. In fact, it may actually fan the flames, as it includes several under which through-traffic would be assessed and one under which local traffic would be assessed as well.

The study projects a $1 toll for use of the bypass and a toll of $2 or more for use of Highway 99W, depending on how wide an exemption were to be granted for locals. The wider the local exemption, the higher the toll on other motorists would have to be to compensate.

This is an outrage. If they feel they need to toll in order to pay for it, then the bypass road should be tolled higher and 99W not at all. Once you've got a town (or two, I'm not sure if they're bypassing Newberg or not) on a toll road you create a disencentive for motorists to go to that town for any reason. What this proposal would do is kill the local economy of Dundee. This is a bad idea, and the people of Dundee are right to be angry about it. It doesnt matter if they create an exemption for locals because once you create a barrier to people coming into town all local businesses will suffer. They can place as high a toll as they want on the bypass road and its ok, it would allow drivers a way to cruise from Portland to McMinnville or out to the coast with minimal traffic problems while actually creating a small monetary incentive for motorists to go through dundee if traffic isnt bad. This is a huge problem and needs to be addressed, a bypass is the correct approach, but for god's sake don't toll 99W! Its a lousy idea!

If they follow through with the duel tolling proposal all people in the area, liberals and conservatives, people from Dundee as well as from McMinnville or Newberg or even Portland should gather behind the people of Dundee in opposing this, its an outrageous proposition and I really wish they would stop bringing it back.

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