Governor Jay Nixon has gotten the analysis he asked for of how tolls could pay for an improved I-70.
“It could be structured many different ways and that’s what the report details,” Department of Transportation spokesman Bob Brendel told Missourinet. “It could be structured with MODOT operating the facility completely itself, or the private sector, or some combination thereof. It could be a mix of public and private money. It could be done many different ways … it does not favor one way or another.”
The report says the idea of tolling to support an I-70 project is “worthy of consideration.”
Brendel said for a toll of $20 to $30 per vehicle to cross the state, to support a $2-billion project, “that would add a lane in each direction and replace all the pavement, make some interchange improvements.”
The tolls would pay off the debt of financing the improvements, likely through a combination of a bond and a federal loan.
“You wouldn’t be able to collect a toll until the facility was complete, but you have to have the money up front to be able to build the facility and to put the tolling structures in place,” Brendel told Missourinet.
I-70 is the only highway Missouri currently could institute tolls on. Brendel explains, “The federal Highway Administration gave MODOT conditional, provisional approval to place a toll on Interstate-70. There’s only three states that have that ability … also because Interstate-70 has had a thorough environmental study done on it.”
The governor says tolling on I-70 could free up the money currently spent each year on that road for other parts of the state’s transportation system. Nixon says he will review the analysis.