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George introduces bills that address toll roads, disclosure

State Senator Larry George, R-13, co-sponsored two new measures that would restrict the use of toll roads in Oregon.

George, whose district covers Sherwood, introduced the legislation along with State Rep. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer.

House Bill 2518 requires approval from the legislature before the Oregon Department of Transportation can initiate any more toll road projects besides the Newberg-Dundee project. Senate Bill 469 prohibits tolling of existing roadways. George said he's concerned not only about the bypass, but about the Sunrise Corridor planned for Clackamas County. "I'm not opposed to toll roads, I just think there are plenty of other funding options that have not been explored," George said in a statement. The freshman senator is a member of the Senate Committee on Business Transportation and Workforce Development.

George said his concern was spurred at least partially from a February report that investigated implementing tolls for the Sunrise Corridor project. The report also offered suggestions for improvements on I-205, and for building more lanes on I-5 and I-82.

The first phase of the Sunrise Corridor would be a six-lane highway running five miles from the Highway 212/224 corridor to the Rock Creek junction. The second phase would continue eight miles from the junction to Highway 26 to accommodate the new growth in the Damascus area.

State Rep. Linda Flores, R- Clackamas, also sponsored the bill. "This new highway project is crucial to the economic viability and livability of our region. We can't let one questionable report discourage us from moving forward," she stated of the Sunrise Corridor project. "If we don't get some controls on tolling policies I'm afraid motorists will be saddled with a very expensive burden."

Client disclosure legislation

George also introduced Senate Bill 674 in February, which would force legislators to reveal their business clients, and would ban legislators from lobbying work immediately after they leave office.

George's bill would also require that legislators file disclosure forms more often, and make them list clients who have an item before the state legislature.

The move is significant because several lawmakers work as consultants. George, who owns a campaign advertising business and does public opinion polling, voluntarily released the names of his clients in February.