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'Roads Aren't Free,' Says Nixon As Missouri Considers Tolls Along I-70

Doug Kerr
Flicker -- CC

Missouri has always funded transportation through user fees, Gov. Jay Nixon told reporters Tuesday after an appearance in Kansas City.

"Roads aren't free," Nixon says. "I mean, they're not."

The governor is trying to drum up support for tolls along Interstate 70 as the 60-year-old road deteriorates. Last August, voters rejected a sales tax increase to pay for repairs — a plan Nixon also opposed.

"To say you're going to tax everybody in the state, even if they don't own a vehicle, and leave out trucking from paying one penny more?" says Nixon, who last month ordered the Department of Transportation to study a toll for I-70. "When you look at I-70 now, 70 percent of the folks that move on I-70 are from out of state."

Missouri's stretch of I-70 is part of a larger interstate highway system, and Nixon says those opposed to toll roads are ignoring that. 

Missourians "are paying a very small percentage of what's necessary to give us, the transportation center of this country, a better, safer place to move across our state," Nixon says.

Missouri spends about $50 million to $60 million a year maintaining I-70.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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