Once again, a bill to invoke a toll on traffic using I-80 failed to win the approval of Wyoming’s legislators last week. The Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee had filed the bill for consideration.
The idea has been cast around for at least a decade now. In fact, information gathering and analysis to determine the possibility of placing a toll on Interstate 80 across southern Wyoming was conducted during 2008 and 2009, resulting in the issuance of a comprehensive report of findings in September 2009.
In early 2010, the Wyoming Legislature voted against continued development of the tolling concept, and no further study had occurred. The Wyoming Department of Transportation says the study on the concept of tolling on I-80 which resulted in the failed legislation at that time had also been authorized by the Legislature’s Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Interim Committee.
WYDOT says a typical section of I-80 in Wyoming has a traffic count of about 13,000 vehicles per day, with heavy trucks making up about half of the traffic. Traffic is projected to continue increasing in the future, with heavy truck volume alone approaching nearly 16,000 per day by 2037. Meanwhile, estimates show maintaining I-80 in its present condition over the next 30 years would cost more than $6.4 billion, after adjusting for inflation.