Interest in toll roads is rising as a way to pay for repairs to some of Missouri’s potholed roads and rusting bridges. But there’s more to a toll road than a collectionbooth. The Transportation Department will ask the Legislature next year to give it authority to operate toll roads – if voters approve a constitutional change legalizingthem. Chief engineer Kevin Keith says toll roads are critical to rebuilding heavily-used roads such as Interstates 70 and 44, and a few bridges. Transportation Commissioner Duane Michie says more than 20 states have toll authority and Missourians need to add our state to that list. But before people get too carried away with this idea, it should be remembered that the interstates were largely federally-funded. And the Missouri division adminsitration for the Federal Highway Administration saysturning I-70 and I-44 into toll roads is a long shot. And that’s a long ways off. A law has to be passed and the constitution has to be changed. The state has todevelop a plan and then convince the federal government to turn a free road into a toll road. Not impossible, but not an imminent solution to Missouri’s highway problems.
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