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Gov. Kotek’s pause on tolling is another tolling flip-flop, does not address the root concerns about tolling, and further empowers the Joint Committee on Transportation … the same Committee keeps us flopping around in the tolling morass.

Vote Before Tolls Committee

May 2, 2023

West Linn, OR, May 2, 2023 – Oregon Governor Kotek’s announcement of a pause on tolling until early 2026 is more of the political flip-flopping and manipulation that has plagued the state’s tolling plans since 2017.

Pausing tolls is not about good policy, it’s not even about getting better research. It’s a political flip flop.  Kotek voted for tolls as the speaker, then against them as her governor’s race heated up, then for them again, and now she says pause. 

Voters deserve better accountability. They deserve roads that work that get them to school, work, and to run the errands of their daily lives.  Working families are already overtaxed, and adding an extra fee to drive is regressive.

 Now more than ever, we have a shot to let voters weigh in on an important issue and allow their voices to be heard. IP-4, the Vote Before Tolls initiative does just that.

We continue to encourage the public to go to our website – votebeforetolls.org and sign the petition today so we can establish the right to vote before this moratorium lifts and force transparency instead of going right back to square one.

“This latest flip flop, while appearing encouraging because it delays tolling, does not address the concerns thousand of Oregonians have about ODOT’s tolling plans, and is in direct response to the tremendous traction IP-4, the Vote Before Tolls initiative, is getting”, according to Dean Suhr, President of Vote Before Tolls Committee and the author of IP-4, the Vote Before Tolls initiative.

Alongside Gov. Kotek’s announcement, House Speaker Rayfield and Senate President Wagner announced the formation of the Special Subcommittee on Transportation Planning (SSTP) within the Joint Committee on Transportation (JCT). It was just a week ago that 31 legislators introduced HB 3614 with great fanfare blasting the JCT’s lack of accountability. The new SSTP reports to the JCT, i.e. no independent accountability as HB3614 required and HB3614 has been pushed to the side to die.

This makes IP-4, the Vote Before Tolls Initiative, the ONLY WAY for the taxpaying public to have direct input and a binding say on ODOT’s tolling plans.


IP-4 gives citizens the right to Vote Before Tolls and will force greater ODOT interaction, transparency, and optimization of tolling strategies along with increased awareness, education, and communication in order to get a tolling bill passed. If convinced a new plan is reasonable, equitable, and cost effective, the public can and will vote yes on a new toll.

It’s Not Too Late

Currently, ODOT wants the public to think tolling is a done deal – which is simply not true. IP-4 is retroactive to 2018 and requires a regional Vote Before Tolls, including the currently active I-205, I-5, and multi-billion dollar Interstate Bridge Replacement tolling projects. IP-4 is intentionally a constitutional amendment so the Oregon Legislature is not able to easily modify the law, since the Legislature is the body responsible to requiring ODOT to study and expand tolling.

Grass Roots

The Vote Before Tolls initiative is truly a grass roots effort and is seeing tremendous traction and support. Oregon citizens and Vote Before Tolls Committee desire well functioning efficient roads and highways, and recognize this costs money. The taxpayers believe they have valid and important ideas and inputs, and by working together, interactively, and transparently with ODOT they can jointly develop better optimized strategies to achieve ODOT’s transportation and funding goals.

Next Steps

Vote Before Tolls Committee is working to gather 200,000 signatures by the spring of 2024 to place IP-4 on the fall 2024 ballot. Oregon registered voters can look for signature gatherers at upcoming events, or they can learn more and then download, print, and sign the petition at https://VoteBeforeTolls.org

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