Truck-only lanes along I-70 touted by MoDOT chief

| 6/29/2006

The head of Missouri’s transportation system announced this week that he favors separating large trucks from other vehicles on Interstate 70 between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Missouri Transportation Director Pete Rahn spoke Wednesday, June 28, at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the interstate highway system. He said heavy trucks account for more than 40 percent of the traffic, four times the rate for which the highway was designed in the 1950s, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Rahn said the plan to separate cars and trucks along the 250-mile stretch between the two metropolitan areas would require at least three lanes in each direction. The work would carry a $3.5 billion price tag, the Post-Dispatch reported. However, no funding is in place for such a project.

According to the newspaper, Rahn told those gathered at the ceremony in St. Charles, MO, that motorists sharing the road with trucks along I-70 are fearful of becoming part of “a chrome sandwich.”

OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Rick Craig said separate lanes for cars and trucks are something that many professional truckers are in favor of.

“Truckers for years have been saying they should be separated from cars,” Craig told Land Line. “Truckers are just as fearful about the unsafe actions of automobile drivers.”

Craig pointed out that the idea of separating trucks and cars is not a new idea. He said it’s about as old as the interstate system itself.

“Anytime this comes up, it sounds good on the surface but the big ‘T word’ comes in, and that is tolling the trucks to pay for it.”

Rahn said citizens must be willing to foot the bill for rebuilding the interstate system and that fuel taxes don’t generate enough revenue to complete the overhaul.

“Unfortunately, whatever we do is going to be expensive,” he added, the Post-Dispatch reported.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor