House Gives Preliminary Approval to Bill Blocking I-70 Toll Road

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JEFFERSON CITY - MoDOT officials said Wednesday they are disappointed in an attempt by the state legislature to block plans to charge tolls on I-70. The measure comes after MoDOT announced it would explore charging as much as 15 cents a mile in tolls for the interstate.

Tuesday, the house unanimously gave first round approval to a bill blocking the creation of a toll road in Missouri without voter approval.

Rep. Thomas Long, R-Battlefield, is the sponsor of the bill. He said his bill would forbid toll roads in Missouri without voter approval. Long admits there is an infrastructure funding problem in the state and the state needs to decide how to pay for improvements.

Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, sponsors a bill calling for a toll road on I-70. He said the intent of his bill is to get the conversation started on how to help pay for I-70 infrastructure improvements."We need to make Missourians aware that we have an infrastructure funding problem and we're going to need to start talking about our options," Kehoe said.

He described his toll road plan as being the "best of the least-liked."

"I'm under no illusion that this is some kind of a popular idea but my intent is to try to get the conversation started so Missourians understand we need to do something to fix some of these major corridors and let's see what we can do together to try to find a solution," Kehoe said.

The bill needs one more vote in the house before moving to the senate.