Missouri Governor Jay Nixon won’t say he’s preparing to call for toll roads to fund an update of I-70, but he thinks it should be discussed.
The Transportation Department has told Governor Nixon it will give him the report he’s asked for, on the options for paying for the repair and expansion of I-70 with tolls.
Nixon said Missouri voters have weighed in on the other ideas that are most often aired.
“The people of our state … over the last decade have said, ‘No,’ to a gas tax increase and have said, ‘No,’ to a sales tax increase,” Nixon said in a one-on-one interview with Missourinet.
Nixon said because of the importance of transportation to Missouri, a funding solution needs to be found. “Just because we have not come up with the right method doesn’t mean we don’t have the responsibility.”
Nixon said it’s time to talk about tolls.
“I look forward to working with the legislature to come to some long-term decisions about how best, and I think this is one that potentially is … a significant part of that discussion.”
The Department is expected to get a report to the governor by the end of the month. In asking for that report, Nixon suggested using tolls to pay for work on I-70 could free up resources currently used on that interstate for road and bridge projects throughout the state.
The legislature last looked at the issue in 2012 when a bill proposing tolls didn’t get past a legislative committee hearing.