OOIDA official testifies against tolling of I-70 in Colorado

| 3/27/2008

OOIDA Regulatory Affairs Specialist Joe Rajkovacz spoke before a Colorado state Senate committee in opposition to two bills aimed at converting part of Interstate 70 west of Denver into a toll road.

Rajkovacz was in Denver representing OOIDA at a separate function at the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance semiannual conference, but pulled double duty Thursday, March 27, when he attended a hearing of the Colorado Senate Transportation Committee on toll bills SB209 and SB213.

“We were out here for CVSA. …The transportation hearing was happening, so it was kind of like killing two birds with one stone,” Rajkovacz told Land Line.

Rajkovacz started his morning by joining in an anti-tolling rally on the steps of the state Capitol before going to the hearing.

His testimony was limited to one minute, but Rajkovacz said he made an impression.

“Obviously, the Association and its members don’t believe that tolling highways is a solution to significant transport issues,” Rajkovacz said. “Small-business truckers are already facing a crushing economic burden.”

He also told the committee that truckers would be unduly burdened by tolls because statistics show that trucks constitute 3 percent of total traffic volume, are responsible for 7 percent of total vehicle miles traveled, and contribute more than 36 percent of total highway funds.

SB209 and SB213 are similar, he said. They both call for the establishment of toll booths between Floyd Hill and the Eisenhower Tunnel. Lawmakers were discussing $5 tolls for passenger vehicles and steeper tolls for trucks, Rajkovacz said.

Rajkovacz said that toll revenue could be dedicated for other purposes and would not be strictly used for transportation.

The committee eventually voted to advance one bill – SB213 – which would allow vehicles to be charged $5 each way. The second bill – SB209 – however, was killed. It included the provision to charge large trucks hefty tolls.

– By David Tanner, staff writer