On Jan. 1, the cost of crossing the Bridge of the Gods will go up — unless drivers go buy the book.
The Port of Cascade Locks Board of Commissioners approved increasing the tolls for single-trips by automobiles, and for commercial vehicles and motor homes, following a staff recommendation at its Nov. 4 meeting.
Rates for commercial trucks and busses will increase from 75 cents per axle to $1 per axle. Motor homes and dual-wheeled pickups will increase from $1.50 to $2 per crossing.
The bridge has not had a toll rate change since 1992, while the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased almost 30 percent in the past 10 years, according to Port officials.
The toll for automobiles will remain at 75 cents per crossing with the purchase of an automobile coupon book. The books cost $15 for 20 coupons and $30 for 40 coupons. The charge for automobiles crossing without the pre-purchased coupons will be $1 per crossing, up from 75 cents. This pricing strategy allows drivers to save money by purchasing coupon books in advance, according to Port officials. Automobile customers are encouraged to purchase coupon books in advance, which decreases administrative cost. The books are available at the Bridge of the Gods’ tollbooth or at the Port office, located in Marine Park in Cascade Locks. All current automobile books in circulation will be honored.
The decision to increase the tariff for these vehicles is based upon the fact that the heavier loads increase wear and tear of the structure, which in turn drives up overall maintenance cost, according to Port officials. The Port operates the Bridge of the Gods, the Sternwheeler “Columbia Gorge,” Marine Park, Cascade Locks Business Park and the Port of Cascade Locks Marina.