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MODOT: I-70 Toll Booth Plan Scrapped

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Congress has given the go-ahead for toll booths along interstates in three states, including I-70 in Missouri. But despite that green light, the Missouri Department of Transportation says that it probably won't happen.

Earlier this year, MODOT proposed adding tolls along I-70 from Independence east to Wentzville, just outside of St. Louis. The tolls would fund road repairs along I-70, but the plan met with almost universal criticism from business owners and drivers who use the interstate often.

Driver Charlie Shinkel of Independence says that it would be one more charge that he couldn't afford.

"The price of gas and everything you know. it melts your pocket," said Shinkel. "We pay enough in taxes."

MODOT special assignments coordinator Bob Brendel says that the state has been eligible for the pilot toll program since 2005. But he says that the department hasn't been able to find enough funding to get the toll booths set up.

"I-70 is a project that MODOT has wanted to tackle for a long time. We studied the needs of I-70 for more than 10-years," said Brendel. He says that following the failure of the latest toll plan to gain support, MODOT has essentially abandoned plans for tolls on I-70 for the immediate future.

Brendel says that a committee appointed by the Speaker of the Missouri House will hold meetings across the state this summer to discuss the state's growing transportation improvement needs.

"The good thing is that the discussion of tolls has prompted a much broader discussion of how to fund transportation in in Missouri overall," said Brendel.

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