Truckers oppose Wyoming proposal to toll I-80

| Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Truckers who use Interstate 80 in the West – and there are a lot of them – should know that state officials in Wyoming are continuing to push forward with a plan to convert it to a toll road.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation says tolls are needed “in response to projected shortfalls in revenue needed to maintain the roadway” and for the possibility of adding a third lane in each direction. The third lane is only a concept at this time.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and other highway user groups are adamantly against the tolling of existing highways built with tax dollars.

“We encourage our members and anybody that uses I-80 to express their opposition to schemes to toll existing roadways,” OOIDA Director of Legislative Affairs Mike Joyce told Land Line Magazine.

“States can fund the expansion of highways using publicly funded sources without putting an additional burden on truckers who are already paying their fair share in taxes and making a strong contribution to our national economy.”

WYDOT public meetings on the I-80 toll proposal begin Monday, June 15, which includes a procedure for submitting written comments.

Joyce points out that commercial trucks make up approximately half of the traffic on the Wyoming portion of I-80, which means the state is already making money and funding highways with money paid by in-state and out-of-state truckers.

“Capturing revenue from out of state trucks is a misconception because those trucks are already paying a state fuel tax and a federal fuel tax on every mile they run. Tolling an existing highway is nothing short of double taxation,” he said. “It’s an ill-conceived policy that will only prove to make the state less competitive in an increasingly challenging global marketplace.”

The tolling of any federally built highway would require approval from the Federal Highway Administration.

WYDOT’s public meetings begin at 5 p.m. each of the following days, with formal presentations scheduled at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.: 

  • Monday, June 15, Laramie Recreation Center, 920 Boulder Drive, Laramie
  • Tuesday, June 16, WYDOT Headquarters Auditorium, 5300 Bishop Blvd., Cheyenne
  • Wednesday, June 17, Old Union Pacific Railroad Depot, 400 West Front, Rawlins
  • Thursday, June 18, WYDOT District Office, Room 169, 3200 Elk St., RockSprings
  • Friday, June 19, Uinta County Library, Bridger-Carter Room, 701 Main, Evanston

Sessions will include question-and-answer periods and a forum for public comments. If you wish to share your thoughts on the issue but cannot attend, send a comment using the Contact WYDOT e-mail form or write to:

Tim McDowell
State Programming Engineer, WYDOT
5300 Bishop Blvd.
Cheyenne, WY 82009

Click here to read more about the I-80 tolling study in Wyoming. Talk of tolling I-80 surfaced in 2006 in Wyoming when a state Senate panel took up the issue.

– By David Tanner, staff writer
david_tanner@landlinemag.com

Related LL articles:
Wyoming lawmaker pursues tolling for Interstate 80
Wyoming panel studies I-80 issues

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