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MoDOT Report Explores Adding Tolls To I-70

(via Flickr/KOMUnews)
Interstate 70 in Columbia, Mo., between St. Louis and Kansas City. The Missouri Department of Transportation says it will propose turning the stretch between St. Louis and Kansas City into a toll road.

Drivers traveling the I-70 corridor in Missouri could experience stop and go traffic by the year 2030 if the interstate is not expanded. That’s according to a new Missouri Department of Transportation report exploring the possibility of putting tolls on the interstate.

Gov. Jay Nixon asked MoDOT’s governing board to compile the report earlier this month, stating that “improving and expanding Interstate 70” was one of the state’s “most pressing transportation infrastructure needs.”

According to the report, the interstate is already operating at double its intended capacity in rural areas and at seven to 12 times capacity near Kansas City and St. Louis. MoDOT estimates expanding I-70 would cost about $2 billion.

The report details four ways the state could use tolls to pay for expanding the highway: a publicly-owned toll and three types of public-private partnerships. MoDOT predicts tolls would need to charge a car between $20 and $30 for a trip across the state to cover the cost. A semi-truck would be charged between $45 and $90.

MoDOT has been struggling with declining revenue for several years now. Voters rejected a proposed sales tax increase to fund the state’s transportation needs in August.

In a statement released today by the governor’s office, Nixon said that “tolls could ensure that the costs for improving and expanding I-70 would be borne proportionately by the heavy trucks that cause the most wear and tear to the roadway, and that out-of-state users also pay their fair share.”

Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.

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