A Nebraska state senator wants to form a four-state
committee to discuss the possible tolling of Interstate 80.
State Sen. Tom Baker, R-Trenton, told The Associated Press recently that projected numbers make it
tempting to consider a tolled I-80 through Nebraska.
Baker, chairman of the Nebraska Legislature's Transportation
and Telecommunications Committee, would like to see a committee of officials
from Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa and Wyoming study the issue, according to The AP.
I-80 is, of course, an existing interstate and therefore
cannot not be tolled without amendments to federal law.
Tolling existing interstates has recently appeared on the
Bush administration's wish list in the way of a pilot program. Some other
regions in the country are applying to be part of that federal pilot program to
toll existing interstates, but so far none of the states in Baker's proposed
study group are among them.
Wyoming State Sen. Michael Von Flattern, R-Gillette, said
two weeks ago that his state could use a boost in transportation revenue that a
tolled I-80 could fetch.
So far, both Von Flattern in Wyoming and Baker in Nebraska
have said they do not favor leasing the interstate to private investors. They
both said in separate newspaper reports that they would prefer their respective
state departments of transportation maintain control.