The Port of Hood River, a public agency, has owned and operated the Hood River/White Salmon Interstate Bridge since 1950. The 4,418’ steel truss bridge was originally constructed in 1924. It provides a critical, bi-state transportation link between White Salmon and Hood River. Unlike most state or federal transportation facilities, the bridge is locally owned and funded wholly by its users, in the form of a toll. The Port is responsible for keeping the bridge safe and operational. It is also working as the lead agency in planning for the construction of a replacement bridge, expected to cost over $250 million. Tolls will continue to play a critical role in financing the maintenance and capital improvements required to maintain the existing bridge, and in the ultimate construction of a new, replacement bridge.
$51 million in capital improvements and maintenance costs over the next 15 years
Bridge engineering firms HDR and Stafford Bandlow have developed near and long term work plans for the bridge that identified future capital projects, inspections and repairs, and specific costs. This 30-year Work Plan informs Port budget planning and contracting. The Work Plan anticipates more than $51 million in capital upgrades, maintenance and repair projects in the next fifteen years. The matrix below is a visual representation of the Work Plan. Click the image to download the PDF version of the work plan.
Potential 2018 Toll Increase
The bridge has been a toll facility since its construction in 1924, when the base toll was 75 cents per vehicle (see the History of the Hood River Bridge page for a chronology of rates). Since that time, the base toll rate has never been over $1 for passenger vehicles. Now, the Port finds that annual toll revenue at the current rate is insufficient to fund the expected costs to maintain the aging bridge structure. And, significant new costs for the development of a replacement bridge are anticipated in the short term. Port staff recommend a toll increase to raise required revenue, and that new toll rates should take effect on February 1, 2018. The Port Commission will evaluate this recommendation and make a decision near the end of 2017.
There will be two public hearings regarding the proposed toll increase, held during the regularly scheduled Commission meetings on October 17 and November 7, beginning at 5:00PM in the Port conference room located at 1000 E. Port Marina Drive in Hood River. Public comment may also be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and address in your email.
Proposed 2018 Toll Rates
The following proposed toll rates, if approved, would take effect on February 1, 2018:
NEW CASH TOLL RATES
- Class 0 Vehicles (Motorcycles) – $1.00
- Class 1 Vehicles (Passenger Vehicles & Pickup Trucks) – $2.00
- Class 2 & Above (Large Trucks, RVs, Trailers, Duallies, Busses, per axle) – $3.00
NEW BREEZEBY ELECTRONIC TOLL RATES
- Class 0 Vehicles (Motorcycles) – $0.75
- Class 1 Vehicles (Passenger Vehicles & Pickup Trucks) – $1.00
- Class 2 & Above (Large Trucks, RVs, Trailers, Duallies, Busses, per axle) – $2.00
The proposed rate structure would provide BreezeBy customers with a 50% discount to cash paying customers. This provides frequent, local bridge users a strong financial incentive to set up a BreezeBy account, and the BreezeBy lanes provide the quickest, easiest trip through the toll plaza.
Beginning in October 2017, existing BreezeBy account holders will be able to fully manage their BreezeBy accounts online, via a new web portal at portofhoodriver.com. Each household opening a new account will receive one free transponder, and the cost for additional transponders is as little as $5 each. Beginning November 2017, bridge users will be able to set up new accounts online, eliminating the need to make a special trip to the Port offices. The Port now uses the latest transponder technology that utilize the 6C transponder protocols, providing interoperability with other tolling agencies throughout the western U.S.
Bridge Repair and Replacement Fund
The new toll revenue is expected to provide between $1.7 and $2.2 million in additional annual revenue. All net revenue from a toll increase would be dedicated solely to bridge repair or replacement. On June 15, 1993 the Port established a Bridge Repair and Replacement Fund (“Bridge Fund”) to finance studies, engineering, repair projects, and replacement efforts. Then on October 18, 2011 the Port again increased cash tolls to $1 and increased the electronic toll to $.80, with those funds also dedicated the increase to the Bridge Fund. Since the fund was first established, revenues derived from the toll increases have been limited to (a) payment of Bridge expenditures, including capital projects, maintenance, operations (including direct and overhead expenses), equipment, reserves, financing costs (including debt service), and expenses to promote mass transit use of the Bridge, and (b) expenses associated with borrowings and any bond covenants. All revenue raised from this increase will have the same restrictions.