Oregon Opinion: Toll plan would help fund I-205 upgrades in Portland

As members of the Oregon Transportation Commission, we travel around the state listening to what Oregonians want and need from their transportation system. And everywhere we go, we hear about how bad congestion is in the Portland metro region.

The numbers bear this out: Drivers in the Portland metro area experienced a 14 percent increase in hours of congestion between 2013 and 2015. As congestion grew, travel delays increased almost 23 percent in the same time period.

One of the corridors where congestion grew the most was Interstate 205 between Interstate 5 and Sunnyside Road. As congestion has grown the freeway has become increasingly unreliable, making it hard to plan a trip. Drivers who need to arrive on time — to get to work, or pick up a child at day care, or make it to a flight at PDX — need to add a 22-minute buffer or they risk being late.