Bridge electronic tolling system goes online

When toll rates go up Feb. 1, crossings at the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge will be cheaper for residents who are signed up for electronic tolling.

The Port of Hood River has made the sign-up process easier with a new web portal that went live shortly before the start of 2018. It allows users to create a pre-paid account online and receive a transponder — an in-car device — by mail.

BreezeBy, the electronic system that has been in place since 2007 at the bridge, will offer a larger discount than before, 50 percent.

Cash tolls will increase next month from $1 to $2 per crossing, while BreezeBy rates will nudge up from 80 cents to $1.

New BreezeBy accounts can be created online or over the counter at the port office, 1000 E. Port Marina Drive, Hood River.

During the sign-up process, customers are prompted to make an initial deposit — a $20 minimum. The first transponder per household is free, but each additional one costs $5.

Once you create your account, your vehicle transponder device will be mailed to you or you can pick it up in the office, usually within two business days. The port advises that you should note your vehicle license plate number as well as the make, model and year when you set up your account, along with payment and contact information.

If you already have a BreezeBy account, you can log in to the online customer web portal to manage your account.

Genevieve Scholl, port communications and special projects manager, said this week the upgrade is similar to the Port of Cascade Locks’ local sticker. Both are ways for local residents to get a discount on crossings, despite the overall cash toll increase.

At the Bridge of the Gods, those who have a sticker issued by the port can cross for $1, while non-sticker crossings are $2. The rate increase went into effect in 2016.

Hood River’s new web system had a trial run in November when staff tried out the system and checked for bugs. Its soft launch was in December. Scholl said the online BreezeBy roll-out has gone quite smoothly so far.

The transponder technology uses “6C transponder protocols,” which are compatible with many other tolling agencies throughout the western U.S.

The Port Commission adopted the bridge toll hike at its Dec. 5 meeting, after two public hearings. According to meeting minutes, the commission’s approval included a condition that before the increase took effect the BreezeBy web portal would be live.

To learn more or sign up, visit www.portofhood, and click the "BREEZEBY” tab.

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