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Wyoming lawmakers plot to add tolls on I-80

I-80 Tolls

Lawmakers in Wyoming have proposed a bill that would add tolls to I-80.

The bill, referred to as SF 6, was introduced in the Wyoming Legislature in December 2019 and is slated for consideration during the 2020 legislative session starting in February.

The bill would finance maintenance and repairs on I-80 by establishing a tolling program. From the bill:

To finance, construct, operate and maintain interstate 80 and accommodate the needs of the traveling public through safe, efficient, convenient and modern vehicular traffic it is necessary and in the public interest to provide for the financing, construction, operation, regulation and maintenance of interstate 80 under a tolled configuration. The tolled configuration will allow interstate 80 to be maintained and to be operated in a way that will reduce traffic congestion, delays, hazards, injuries and fatalities. To carry out these purposes, it is necessary to authorize the Wyoming transportation commission, with legislative oversight, to create and supervise a tolling program within the department of transportation to impose tolls and exercise other powers regarding interstate 80 that are necessary, equitable and appropriate.

The bill does not specify toll payment amounts, nor does it specify how the tolls would be collected.

If the bill were to pass, Wyoming would still need permission from the federal government to impose the toll.

Similar attempts to begin the process of adding tolls on I-80 were proposed in 2008 and 2009 as well as 2017, but so far all plans to toll I-80 have fizzled.

The Wyoming Trucking Association opposes the bill and argues that truckers would simply find another route to avoid the toll.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation currently spends around $60 million per year on maintaining I-80, but they say that they need another $40 million per year to maintain the interstate infrastructure.

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