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MoDOT to propose tolls on Interstate 70

Thursday, November 10, 2011 | 7:44 a.m. CST; updated 11:00 a.m. CST, Thursday, November 10, 2011

KANSAS CITY — The head of the Missouri Department of Transportation said Wednesday the agency will propose making Interstate 70 a toll road to finance an overhaul of the highway.

The idea of charging motorists to use the main highway between St. Louis and Kansas City has been mentioned for years.

But MoDOT is now preparing to ask the Legislature to authorize tolls on I-70, department director Kevin Keith told the Kansas City Star.

"Tolling is a viable financing option for infrastructure," Keith said. "As we sit here today with the resources available to us, it may be the only option we have to pay for it."

With its budget for major road projects dwindling, MoDOT began a cost-cutting program earlier this year aimed at saving more than $500 million by 2015.

For I-70, Keith said department officials would like to form a partnership with contractors who would build the highway and recover their expenses from tolls. Details such as the amount of the tolls and who would run them would be negotiated with any potential group interested in the idea.

The cost of rehabbing and expanding I-70 from the Kansas City area to near St. Louis — including about 30 miles of segregated truck lanes — has been estimated at $3.5 billion to $4 billion. The state could simply expand the highway to three lanes in each direction at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion.

Installation of tolls on I-70 would need approval from the federal government, which has a pilot program allowing three existing interstates around the country to be tolled. Missouri has been tentatively approved for one of the three slots.


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Comments

Corey Parks November 10, 2011 | 9:36 a.m.

2 things. Make sure that it does not turn into another KS toll road scam. They were lead to believe that the toll roads would only be in place for 10 years on top of the fuel tax to fund the I-70/I-35 toll road construction but the 10 years has come and gone and the toll booths are still there.

Possibly only toll truckers. Majority of them are from other states and just pass through Missouri on there way. Don't say you cant single them out because they have been requiring them to go to the weigh stations for years.

(Report Comment)
Dion Wisniewski November 10, 2011 | 10:25 a.m.

I highly doubt that if these tolls are approved that they will be taken down. Look at IL. Those tolls were put in to build the interstate system and they are still there many many years later. But that all makes sense, too. After the roads are built they have to make money to keep them updated. Granted, it is kind of sly to say they'll be used to build the road and then just forget to tell everyone that they'll be used for upkeep as well.

(Report Comment)
James Krewson November 10, 2011 | 11:00 a.m.

Illinois residents don't pay personal property tax. Missouri has both personal property and real property tax. People in Illinois can use that savings to pay for toll roads. This new toll will hurt people that are already struggling to pay the higher gas prices and have to commute to work. Don't add another tax to Missourians,instead, tax the people who drive through on I-70 and don't reside here.

(Report Comment)

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