I-70 toll road proposal
5:13 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

MoDOT wants lawmakers to consider I-70/toll road proposal

A joint House-Senate committee in Jefferson City heard a proposal today for rebuilding Interstate Highway 70 in Missouri and turning it into a toll road. 

MoDOT Director Kevin Keith told the committee that charging tolls would provide the best opportunity to pay for rebuilding I-70.  But he acknowledges that it may not be an easy sell to lawmakers.

“They’re getting probably as many comments as positive as negative, and this is just something that we need to start the conversation about," Keith said.  "I can’t tell you where it’s gonna end up…I don’t know everyone’s personal opinion on it, we just think it’s an option worth talking about.”

If approved, I-70’s reconstruction would include toll plazas between the I-64/US 61 intersection at Wentzville and the 1-470 interchange in Independence.  Tolls would be collected for a period of years until the project’s cost is paid for.  State Senator Bill Stouffer (R, Napton) co-chairs the Joint Transportation Oversight Committee.

“I think we have to have the discussion," Stouffer said.  "I think the public has got to decide what kind of infrastructure they want to support and how they want to support it, and I believe that tolls have to be part of that discussion…and if not tolls, what are we gonna do?”

Meanwhile, Keith suggested that using state revenues to pay for such a project would likely require a hike in the state’s gasoline tax.  Lawmakers praised MoDOT for coming up with the toll road idea, but took no action on it at today’s committee meeting.