Travel to become costlier for commuters

Louis Trigg

The trip to campus might become costlier for students, faculty and staff who commute, if the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is granted permission to construct toll stations on I-70.

Last week, MoDOT Director Kevin Keith announced a plan to persuade the General Assembly to authorize toll construction along the interstate highway.

Even though the idea has been mentioned for years, MoDOT is preparing to submit it to the state legislature soon.

In a report by The Kansas City Star, Keith said tolling would provide the department with a funding option for future projects designed to improve I-70 from Kansas to St. Louis.

“Tolling is a viable financing option for infrastructure,” Keith said in the report. “As we sit here today with the resources available to us, it may be the only option we have to pay for it.”

MoDOT plans to finalize a plan to repair I-70, and then assemble a group of independent contractors, who would repair the highway and recoup the costs by toll revenue.

However, the selection of contractors and costs would be unknown, until an agreement is made among any group interested in the project.

According to the report, though, the costs are expected to range from $1.5 billion up to $4 billion, depending on the types of repairs chosen by the transportation department.

As one of the first highways ever built in the U.S., I-70 has been the subject of repair talks for many years. Planners particularly want to expand the highway to resolve an increase in traffic throughout the past six decades.

Recently, discussion has centered on a few scenarios, including expanding the highway to three lanes, or building a separate lane for trucks altogether.

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