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Herrera Beutler to Inslee: Follow Example of New Jersey Governor Standing Up for New Jersey Commuters

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler today sent a letter to Governor Jay Inslee highlighting the example set by New Jersey’s Democrat Governor who has pledged to block New York’s congestion pricing plan that would unfairly charge his state’s commuters for using existing infrastructure, and asking Inslee to do the same.  

In a July 2018 visit to Vancouver, Governor Inslee pledged that Oregon’s scheme to toll Southwest Washington commuters for crossing the existing I-5 and I-205 bridges into Oregon “would not happen.”  

Herrera Beutler writes, “When you yourself stated on July 31, 2018 that Oregon’s plan to toll existing I-5 and I-205 bridges at the state line “will not happen,” you gave hope to the tens of thousands of Washington commuters who would be impacted.  Are you willing to follow through on that declaration and provide similar leadership at the state level to stand up and defend our shared constituents?”

The full text of the letter follows, and a PDF is available here.

 

Dear Governor Inslee,

As you know, Oregon continues to actively pursue “congestion pricing” tolls on I-5 and I-205 that would generate revenue for that state by charging commuters – including a disproportionate number from Southwest Washington - for using existing infrastructure.  Vocal opposition is growing; non-partisan members of the Vancouver City Council have repeatedly raised their concerns at public meetings. At one recent meeting, Vancouver City Councilmember Ty Stober said of Oregon’s tolling scheme: “It very clearly looks like it is trying to punish the members of the metro community that live in Clark County.”  This sentiment has been echoed by other Southwest Washington officials and countless Washington commuters who stand to shoulder the financial burden. 

But local opposition will not be enough to stop these tolls, so I’m asking for your help in standing up to Oregon to stop the implementation of this discriminatory proposal.  There is right now a comparable conflict between the states of New Jersey and New York where New Jersey commuters who must travel to work will be forced to send money to New York to fill that state’s coffers. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently made headlines by stating his intention to block New York’s plans to penalize his constituents with massive tolls.  This is not a partisan dispute; Governor Murphy is a member of the same political party as the New York leaders who are involved. Rather, this is a governor fighting for the interests of those he serves by not allowing another state to take advantage of them. 

When you yourself stated on July 31, 2018 that Oregon’s plan to toll existing I-5 and I-205 bridges at the state line “will not happen,” you gave hope to the tens of thousands of Washington commuters who would be impacted.  Are you willing to follow through on that declaration and provide similar leadership at the state level to stand up and defend our shared constituents? 

We have to stand up for our state, because it's clear Oregon isn't looking out for us.

Please, governor – hardworking commuters are raising the alarm bells.