ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KMOV.com) – As the Missouri Legislature opens its 2015 legislative session, lawmakers may debate ways to pay for possible repairs to Interstate 70.
MoDOT recently delivered a report to Governor Jay Nixon on what the repairs would cost. In the report, the agency said the highway is deteriorating and also said it is in need of funds to pay for any upgrades. Nixon has supported placing tolls on the highway, but some in the legislature are opposed to the idea.
MoDOT said the toll would cost 10-15 cents per mile, meaning a 200 mile drive from Wentzville to Kansas City would be $20-$30 for drivers.
“That’s based on similar toll rates paid on other facilities around the country that have been built in recent years,” said Bob Brendel with MoDOT.
The toll for 18-wheelers would be double or triple what it would be for other vehicles. The trucking industry has already stated it is opposed to a toll road and believes a gas tax would be more efficient. They say drivers would avoid I-70, causing state highways to be overloaded and hazardous.
“Secondary roads aren’t typically equipped to handle that amount of traffic,” said Brent Witte with Witte Brothers Exchange, a trucking company.
Some said costs would be passed onto consumers even if they don’t drive on a toll road.
“If there was a toll road and any of our merchandise gets transported that way, it’s going to be passed on to us, and therefore eventually we’ll have to pass that on to our customers,” said Matt Mitchell, a Wentzville business owner.
MoDOT said it will try to take care of I-70 to the best of its abilities if a toll road is not approved, but also said it could only do so in a limited way.
“We won’t be able to add to capacity, increasing delays in the future as we’re required to do maintenance or as there are incidents or as congestion builds,” said Brendel.