The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City), introduced the idea earlier in the session to gain approval for installing tolls to help pay for the renovation of 200 miles of I-70.
The Missouri Department of Transportation has estimated that the rebuild would cost between $2 billion (replacing pavement and adding lanes in the median) and $4 billion (expanding I-70 to eight lanes) and would not be possible without a new funding source becoming available. The federal government has already approved Missouri's request to look into placing tolls on the interstate. The bill faced strong opposition from the trucking industry and convenience-store owners who operate adjacent to the highway.
Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Stouffer is not opposed to passing a resolution backing transportation infrastructure improvements, but has intimated that he believes it's an issue that should be decided by the public. Missouri Department of Transportation Director Kevin Keith believes that a toll proposal could proceed without a public vote.
Even if tolls were approved, MoDOT estimates that it would be two years before construction could begin and six to eight years before the project would be finished. So Kansas City drivers can celebrate another year of unencumbered driving to get their pornography, fireworks or frozen-custard fix.