The Arkansas Highway Commission would need legislative permission to put toll booths on existing highways under a bill introduced Friday in the state Legislature.
The proposal would amend the 1973 Arkansas Turnpike Authority Act, which gives the Highway Commission the authority to charge tolls, reports the Associated Press.
“I consider this a trucker’s bill,” said Herby Branscum, Jr., Highway Commission chairman. “If I had an opportunity to vote on it, you could count me as a ‘no.’”
The trucking industry opposes tolls on existing interstate highways. The commission has considered installing tollbooths on some interstates to pay for specific interstate maintenance projects, such as bridges.
The lead sponsor, Rep. Russ Hunt, said the bill is an attempt to prevent taxation without representation.
The five highway commissioners are appointed by the governor to 10-year terms on a constitutionally autonomous board. Last summer, Branscum suggested a plan that included toll collection points on interstates 30, 40 and 55, and said the commission did not need legislative authority to undertake the project.
Gov. Mike Huckabee joined a national coalition of truckers and others last November in a drive to block efforts to put tollbooths on interstate highways.