Wyoming Legislator Says Interstate 80 Toll Proposal Is Back
A Republican legislator from Cheyenne says a proposal to make at least part of Interstate 80 in Wyoming a toll road is back.
Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-HD 43) notes the proposal to charge a toll to use I-80 has been around for years, adding "the same group of legislators who have been advocating it historically are back advocating it again."
He says the funding challenges the state is currently facing may give the proposal impetus.
One version of the proposal would create a special toll lane for commercial trucks.
But in past years some toll road proponents have also called for imposing a toll for all vehicles using a section of Interstate 80, with commercial trucks possibly being charged a higher fee than other vehicles.
Zwonitzer says he thinks toll supporters "can make a compelling argument" although he also says "I don't think the legislature as a whole is ready to pass it."
Zwonitzer says most of the support for imposing I-80 tolls is coming from northern Wyoming rather than parts of the state that I-80 passes through. He says so far he hasn't heard of any proposals to impose tolls on Interstates 25 or 90, which also pass through Wyoming.
Zwonitzer notes there had been considerable support for imposing a toll on the interstate a few years ago because of the cost of maintaining the interstate. He says that died down after lawmakers increased the state gasoline tax by ten cents a gallon.
But now that the state is facing budget challenges the idea is once again being discussed. Zwonitzer says in past years the state spent "$400,000 or $500,000" studying the idea.