The bill, Senate Bill 752, introduced by State Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, would implement tolls though a public-private partnership to make badly needed repairs on a 200-mile stretch of I-70 through the middle of Missouri.
The Missouri Department of Transportation says converting I-70 to a toll road would cost between $2 billion to $4 billion. Senate Bill 752 would have a private group finance, rebuild and operate the highway - recovering its investment from the tolls.
The measure will not likely emerge from the Senate Transportation Committee, says Kehoe, a former Missouri highway commissioner and vice chairman of that panel. Kehoe says he would be "shocked" if the bill is passed.
Ron Leone, executive director of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, told the Post-Dispatch there was more opposition for the proposal than support.
"Most pundits agree that the toll road issue for 2012 is dead," he says. However, Leone says, the funding for the repairs need to come from somewhere.
This summer and fall, the state's lawmakers will arrange interim hearings on transportation funding. The biggest need right now, legislators say, is to increase public awareness about the state's transportation needs and possibilities for funding.
Missouri Moving Ahead on I-70 Tolling Plans, 11/11/2011
Missouri DOT Pushing I-70 Toll Road Plan, 1/19/2012.
NATSO Urges Missouri Lawmakers Not to Toll I-70, 1/25/2012.