Toll roads for Missouri?

Columbia Daily Tribune

State Rep. Jeff Harris of Columbia is introducing a resolution allowing toll road authority in Missouri. A public vote to amend the state constitution would be required.

Toll roads consistently have been rejected in the past, but some think more support might exist now because transportation funds are short. Promoters argue toll roads are a targeted user tax raising money for roads from drivers, many from out of state. But, of course, the same can be said of fuel taxes, a much more efficient way to raise money for transportation.

Toll roads face another hurdle. If proposed for currently free roads, resentment is bound to arise. Toll roads are most acceptable to enable construction of high-demand roads where none exists. Putting up toll gates on Interstate 70, for instance, sounds like the most lucrative way to raise money, but the prospect will be hopelessly unpopular.

Toll roads might be an effective way to enable new road construction but are highly doubtful as a way to increase funding for existing highway systems. However, the coming discussion in the General Assembly will be interesting.