Toll roads are “dead on arrival” with key Missouri lawmaker in 2020 (Audio from Missourinet)
The chairman of Missouri’s Senate Transportation Committee says toll roads are “dead on arrival” with him and are a non-starter. This opposition from State Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, is significant because any toll road legislation would have to go before his committee.
Libla has looked at states that have tolls.
“You know people talk about how good Oklahoma’s roads are and the fact that they have 17-cents a gallon (state gasoline tax), which is the same as ours,” Libla says. “But what everybody leaves out, just about everywhere you drive (in Oklahoma) you have to drive on a toll road. So you still have to buy gas and pay tolls.”
Missourians have voted twice on toll roads and rejected them both times. Chairman Libla says it’s too late to try to toll aging I-70 across Missouri.
“Interstate 70, we have lost our exemption now to toll that road from the federal government, so we can’t toll it anyway. Now you can build a new toll road.”
Libla opposes that, saying the state owns its transportation assets and has filed legislation to raise Missouri’s gas tax from 17 to 19-cents per gallon.
His proposal, which is Senate Bill 539, would also increase the tax on diesel fuel from 17 to 23-cents per gallon and would also adjust the taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel annually for inflation.
He predicts his proposal would raise about $144 million annually for transportation. Libla also says we’ve funded roads and bridges for 95 years in Missouri with a gas tax.
According to MoDOT congestion in St. Louis and Kansas City and along Interstates 44 and 70 in Missouri are currently causing an annual economic loss of $575 million.