In the future, truckers traveling through
the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 could pay for the privilege of doing so.
However, a state official said that if
any tolls are added – and that’s a big if, she said – they would be more than a
The Colorado Tolling Enterprise Board,
part of the state’s Department of Transportation, recently announced the
results of a feasibility analysis regarding the possible use of tolls on a
number of Colorado highways.
The study looked at 12 areas in the state
and examined which ones could feasibly work as toll projects. Among those where
tolls might work, the analysis said, was the tunnel, which sits along the
coast-to-coast interstate west of Denver.
Peggy Catlin, deputy executive director
of CDOT and acting director of the Colorado Tolling Enterprise, stressed that
the project was only a feasibility study. Before it could move forward, any
tolling plan would have to pass through a number of potential roadblocks, including
detailed environmental, traffic and financial analyses.
“There haven’t been any policy decisions
made,” Catlin said. “It was not a proposal to toll; it was just a feasibility
The study considered a toll of $3 per
vehicle in each direction in the tunnel during peak hours – enough to
potentially pay for improvements. However, the study is so preliminary that it
has not even reached a point where it would look at different tolls for trucks
or cars, Catlin said.
In addition, she said, tolling is only
one of several financing options being looked at to pay for road projects
linked to the feasibility analysis.
And if the state does decide to add
tolls, Catlin said, any actual tolls would be 10 to 15 years in the future
In a statement, CDOT said that the tolls
could be used in a number of corridors, and could pay for up to 90 percent of
the cost of improvements.
roadwork could include express toll lanes on a number of interstates and an
additional two-lane tunnel at the Eisenhower site. The feasibility analysis
looked at possible improvements on I-25, I-70, U.S. 36, I-225, I-270 and
results of this initial study are encouraging but we’re still in an infancy
stage,” Catlin said. “This study is in no way a plan or a guarantee. We’re
simply going through the process of analyzing options and finding funding
alternatives so Colorado doesn’t have the spend the next 25 years stuck in
The Colorado Tolling Enterprise was
created in 2002 to finance, construct, operate, regulate and maintain a system
of tolling highways in Colorado.
--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor