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Senate Lays Groundwork For Tolling On Major Interstate

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Lawmakers have taken a major step to begin tolling Interstate 80, the highway cutting across southern Wyoming.

The Senate narrowly passed a bill that would begin to lay the foundation for a tolling system for one the state's biggest roadways.

Supporters of the bill say it's time to address the revenue problem for maintaining the road given how much truck traffic it sees.

Lander Sen. Cale Case, the bill's sponsor, said I-80 costs so much for the state to maintain, it diverts resources away from the rest of the state's transportation system.

"I-80 is unique by its maintenance concerns, it's heavy out of state use, it's damaged from trucks. And yes, we need to do this because we're unable to fund it by other means because fuel taxes no longer carry the weight, and we've run out of separate severance taxes," he said.

Revenue generated from the toll would go back into maintaining the road.

Critics are concerned with the financial impact on local drivers who use the road frequently.

Baggs Sen. Larry Hicks said he has been against tolling the I-80, but this bill looks to be a fairer situation for Wyoming residents.

"This looks like we may actually get a user fee to the people that are creating the maintenance costs associated with it," he said.

The bill will be sent to the House for consideration.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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