Toll Possibilities for I-70 Rebuild
Recently, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) issued a report on the possibilities of using tolls to pay for the expansion of I-70 from Wentzville to Independence.
As we have argued in the past, using tolls to pay for the improvements of highways is both fair and economically sound. Tolling allows all users of I-70, whether Missourian or non-Missourian, commuter or trucker, to jointly invest in a modern highway.
The new MoDOT study suggested that a plan to expand I-70 to three lanes across the state could cost $2 billion, far beyond the current resources of the department. However, the project could be financed with toll revenue and quickly implemented with the use of a public-private partnership (PPP). There are many varieties of PPPs, but they generally devolve some combination of the construction and operation of public assets to the private sector. If well designed and properly enforced, PPPs can deliver service that is both high quality and low cost.
While we may have issues with the scope of the I-70 project and how tolling is implemented, the fact that Missouri is getting serious about using PPPs and tolling to improve the highway system is to be lauded. More on this to come.