States agree new I-5 bridge should have a toll

States agree new I-5 bridge should have a toll »Play Video
Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Transportation's Flickr page.

PORTLAND, Ore. - You might want to start getting used to the idea of paying a toll if you drive Interstate 5 over the Columbia River on a daily basis.

Both Washington and Oregon have agreed to turn the new I-5 bridge into a toll bridge and want to create a bi-state tolling commission with a representative from each state to decide on a toll rate and system.

The toll money would help pay for the bridge, called the Columbia River Crossing.

The bridge, a $3.5 billion project, has been a political flashpoint on both sides of the river. It is strongly supported by business groups - which want to speed the flow of commerce - and labor unions, whose workers would build it.

Proponents say the existing bridge is too small, choking the flow of commuter and freight traffic, and would likely collapse in a large earthquake.
   
Critics say it's a waste of money and poorly designed. Many of them say it would fail to get the necessary permits from the U.S. Coast Guard because of a concern there wouldn’t be enough room for ships to pass beneath it.