Wyoming lawmakers consider truck tolls for I-80

| 10/15/2007

A Wyoming legislative panel is looking into the possibility of imposing tolls on Interstate 80 truck traffic to help foot the bill for rising road repair costs.

The Joint Interim Committee on Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs this month asked state transportation officials to find out whether the federal government would permit the state to charge truckers to use I-80 in Wyoming. The panel also wants some information on how much revenue would be generated.

If they get positive feedback, the committee will pursue an in-depth study on tolling once the next regular session begins in February.

Another option drawing consideration by lawmakers is to increase the state’s fuel tax rate by 10 cents and charge higher fees for driver’s licenses.

The dime-per-gallon increase would be phased in during the next three years. It would generate about $70 million annually. The state would get $47 million from the tax increase while counties and cities would split the rest, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

The state’s 14-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel and gas would increase to 24 cents in three steps. It would rise to 17 cents in January 2009. It would increase another penny in 2010 and another 4 cents in January 2011.

The tax hike also would include a tax for leaking underground storage tanks.

Supporters say the revenue is needed because road construction costs have jumped 40 percent. They also point out that only Alaska has a lower fuel tax rate than Wyoming.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Wyoming in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor