In a recent speech to the Oregon Environmental Council’s Business Forum, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski (below, right) said the transportation plan he’ll present to the 2009 state legislature will likely accent congestion pricing. It could also include a statewide low-carbon fuel standard in synch with California’s, and incentives for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. More, first from from The Oregonian.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski…said he will likely advocate for rush-hour tolling and other tough measures to control traffic congestion in his 2009 appeal to the Legislature. “In plain English, tolls that vary by time of day, by location, or by congestion level, so that those who are using the highway at the most desirable time are paying more to do so,” he said. Kulongoski didn’t say which highways might be ripe for “congestion pricing.” But the proposed Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River is an example of what he has in mind, said spokeswoman Anna Richter Taylor.
…For months, Kulongoski has said he will make his transportation plan a top priority when the Legislature convenes for a new session in January. He has called for improvements to highways and roads throughout the state, emphasizing the massive needs of a system that has failed to keep up with growth. And he has insisted that these improvements also answer concerns about global warming. He wants cleaner cars, more bicycle routes and more mass transit, among other “green” measures. “We cannot allow ourselves to fall into the trap of thinking transportation and climate change are conflicting policy priorities,” Kulongoski said. He hasn’t put a price tag on his plan, but admits a large new source of funding must be found.
The Portland Business Journal also reported on the Governor’s speech, noting his comments on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles:
“We also need to find ways to make it easier for individual citizens to access and use plug-in hybrid and other alternative fuel cars so these become the vehicles of choice,” he said.
Increased incentives for telecommuting may figure in to his package of proposed legislation as well, Kulongoski indicated. The Oregonian’s report mentions that Pat Reiten, president of Pacific Power, will head a committee for the governor, tasked with developing the broader package of transportation legislation by November.
Gail Achterman, chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission, in a brief paper published at the Web site of the Columbia Crossing I-5 bridge replacement project, states that tolling is a key component of controlling greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, as necessary large-scale infrastructure upgrades occur.
On the transportation side of the equation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require us to consider two key policies: significantly expanding mass transit service, and implementing tolling to reduce demand on the highway system. The Columbia River Crossing would do both. In that sense, it is a major forward step in our regional effort to reduce the carbon footprint of our transportation system.
What emerges from the ’09 session remains to be seen, but Kulongoski is on the right track in highlighting congestion pricing, transit, and telecommuting, and especially in exploring how to move beyond oil in transportation.
“Costlier Gas, New Hybrids Spur More To Go Green,” Seattle Times, 4/21/08;
“Biofuel Use, Growth, Limited By Costs, Technology,” Seattle Times, 4/19/08;
“Plugged In: The End Of The Oil Age,” World Wildlife Fund, 4/2/08;
“Metro Portland: The I-5 Bridge Tolls For Thee,” Cascadia Prospectus, 1/23/08.
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