Dec. 10 – Trucking industry opposition was a key factor in the Arizona Department of Transportation’s decision not to pursue the idea of building a Hoover Dam bypass as a toll route.
The department had planned to ask the state Legislature in its next session to change the laws, which currently only allow private entities to build tollroads. That plan has been abandoned, according to Jennifer Macdonald, the department’s lobbyist.
Macdonald also said the department decided it was premature to request the legislation before a financial feasibility study of the $200 million bridge project is finished.
“If we’re not able to find other ways of financing it, that (consideration of tolls) certainly may come back as an issue,” she said.
The bypass, a major priority for Arizona and Nevada, consists of a new bridge over the Colorado River either upstream or downstream of the Hoover Dam. The existing two-lane highway atop Hoover Dam is seen as a problem in developing a major free-trade corridor between Mexico and Canada – but tolls would be a hindrance, as well, say both Macdonald and the trucking industry.
“To have a series of toll booths is counterproductive,” Dave Berry, vice president of Swift Transportation, told the Associated Press. “That flies in the face of what a trade corridor is.”