Wyoming Reintroduces Bill for Tolls on Interstate 80
The Wyoming statehouse is reintroducing legislation that would toll Interstate 80 to cover costs for improvement to the interstate. The legislation was previously offered up during the 2020 regular session before it was voted down.
In 2020, Senators voted 18-11 against the introduction of the bill to toll Interstate 80. The reintroduced bill has advanced to the Senate Transportation Committee this year. According to officials from the Wyoming Department of Transportation, a $40 million shortfall is needing to be addressed that is used just for highway maintenance. WYDOT officials have also suggested reconstruction of the I-25 Interchange in Cheyenne, as well as more truck parking and climbing lanes for the interstate.
In the past, both chambers have not given support to the previous legislation submitted that would toll the busy east-west interstate.
The bill, known as SF73, is asking that the Department of Transportation come up with a plan to come up with somewhere in the range of $1 million to $1.25 million for tolling the interstate, along with a master plan to logistically make it happen across the I-80 stretch throughout southern Wyoming. That particular master plan would also include details of the toll plan, such as toll rates, the locations of where the tolls could be collected on Interstate 80.
The new legislation states that the new tolling will allow the interstate to not only be maintained, but also help reduce a number of interstate traffic issues such as delays, hazards, traffic congestion, injuries, and fatalities.
The Wyoming Trucking Association is opposing the efforts of the legislation by testifying that truckers would use alternate routes to avoid tolls while businesses along I-80 would lose money as a result of the proposed I-80 tolls.
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association CEO Todd Spencer has previously said to lawmakers:
To be clear, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association fundamentally opposes toll roads...However, toll roads are more egregious when they are proposed for existing highway capacity.
Other options being explored for securing additional revenue for transportation include a fuel tax increase and a road user charge. Results of the proposed bills to be considered are still pending.
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