Caution on toll roads

Saturday, March 27, 2004

(Sikeston, Mo.) Standard Democrat

The issue of toll roads in Missouri is taking the spotlight in Jefferson City though it appears likely the subject will see no action this year. And given the ups and downs of the toll road discussion it appears that the subject should be shelved until much more information is available.

Toll roads are always an option when states feel the pinch of tighter transportation budgets. And perhaps tolls have a place in Missouri. But from what I've heard and read, there are more unanswered questions than answers on this touchy topic. Until some real numbers are available, nothing will happen. ...

It seems that for every genuine highway need in Missouri that could benefit from tolls there is an equal number of businesses that might be harmed by the hit to the pocketbook that a toll would bring.

The real concern is that tolls would first have to gain voter approval. And given the recent history of voter support for transportation needs, that prospect seems unlikely. ... If the toll road issue moves forward, a 'no' vote is more than likely. Patience is the key to this issue and that should be the plan in Jefferson City as well.

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