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Oregon to Raise Additional Highway Funds Through Tolls

The price tag for two Oregon highway projects has risen. On Thursday, the Oregon Transportation Commission approved an $85.2 million increase for Interstate 205 and about a $15.4 million increase for Oregon Route 217.

The cost of the I-205 project has risen to $600 million, funded by resources identified in the Urban Mobility Strategy Finance Plan update. This project involves widening and seismically retrofitting the Abernethy Bridge, adding an auxiliary lane from Oregon Route 43 to Oregon Route 213, and combining the O.R. 43 ramps.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), this structure will be the first seismically ready bridge over the Willamette River in the Portland metro area.

The cost of the O.R. 217: O.R. 10 – O.R. 99W project increased to approximately $147.1 million. This increase will be funded with about $3.5 million from state bridge program reserves, $11.9 million from the cancellation of the I-5: Capitol Highway – O.R. 217 project construction phase, and $2 million from the project's budget by canceling the utility relocation phase previously approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission.

As construction costs rise, drivers will face tolls on the new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River, with construction expected to start in 2026. Tolling in both directions on the existing bridge will be one of the first changes the public will experience when construction begins.

Tolls will help fund the project, which is estimated to cost between $5 billion and $7.5 billion. Federal funds and contributions from Oregon and Washington will cover most costs, but tolls are expected to raise $1.2 billion for construction and provide ongoing revenue for bridge maintenance and operations.

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