Kansas bill dead, called for using speed to determine Turnpike tolls

| 3/25/2009

An effort in the Kansas Senate to charge higher tolls on the Kansas Turnpike based on vehicle speed will have to wait until next year.

Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, offered legislation to allow the Kansas Turnpike Authority to charge drivers extra if they speed on the road. Drivers’ speed would have been determined by looking at the time vehicles entered and exited the turnpike. A new fee structure for affected drivers would have been determined by the Turnpike Authority.

The speed limit on the 236-mile roadway, which extends from the Oklahoma border to Kansas City, KS, is 70 mph.

The Senate Transportation Committee didn’t advance the bill – SB4 – prior to a deadline, effectively killing it for the year. It marks the second time in three years the effort has failed to advance from committee.

Opponents said the effort unnecessarily meddles in turnpike board business. The Turnpike Authority primarily relies on toll collections to pay for road work and repairs.

Haley said the purpose of the legislation was to prevent the Turnpike Authority from raising tolls.

“There is no question in my mind that this will be something that’s implemented in the future. It only makes sense to offer incentives, as we are offered incentives for insurance, for safer conduct, fuel efficiency, for those who abide by an existing ordinance or an existing law to provide an incentive to do that,” Haley recently told Land Line Now on Sirius XM.

“I think at some point in time this will be implemented. Especially since many of us are opposed to an across the board increase on tolls for motorists that are using the road,” he said.

Haley also said that the legislation would not interfere with the Kansas Highway Patrol’s efforts to patrol the roadway.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Kansas in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Staff Writer Reed Black contributed to this report.