Proposed Missouri funding bill prohibits any money for tolls

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 4/6/2017

The quest for tolls in Missouri may come to an abrupt stop. Missouri’s House proposed budget will prohibit the use of General Revenue funds for anything dealing with the collection of tolls on interstates through the Show Me State.

House Bill 4 in Missouri is making its way through the Senate as of press time. Language at the beginning of the bill calls to appropriate money “provided that no funds shall be used for any costs associated with the tolling of interstate highways.” That part of the introduction was not included when the bill was first introduced on Feb. 21.

According to a Missouri House press release, the Missouri Department of Transportation has been asking lawmakers to conduct a third study of tolling. Several Republicans, including Bart Korman of District 42, reject any more money being spent on more studies. Korman was quoted in the release calling tolls a “double tax.” He also advocated for funds sought for an additional study to be used on actual infrastructure projects, such as bridges.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association agrees with Korman,

“We echo Representative Korman’s comments that another study on tolling I-70 is a waste of money,” said Mike Matousek, OOIDA director of state legislative affairs. “We also agree with him that tolling is double taxation, and we applaud his position on this issue.”

Other Republicans are not so sure about the move. Kansas City Republican Kevin Corlew is more concerned about the overall funding issues the state faces. Corlew said completely removing any option from the table may not be a wise move.

Corlew also mentioned that the state should wait and see what happens with President Trump’s infrastructure package. The federal bill may open up some more feasible options for the state to take advantage of.

Despite differing opinions within the House, the perfected bill with the anti-toll language was advanced to the Senate for a first read on Thursday, April 6.

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