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Toll roads for Idaho?

The hottest topic among states seeking transportation funding is imposing tolls on interstate freeways, consultant David Hartgen told the governor's transportation task force this morning. It's currently not allowed outside of demonstration projects, but he said he wouldn't be surprised to see it permitted to some extent in the next federal transportation bill.

Idaho actually has a higher percentage of its travel on interstates than other states, Hartgen said, and could raise $42 million a year by charging 1 cent a mile for cars and 4 cents a mile for trucks. "It's relatively easy to administer through a booth approach or electronic systems," he said. Nationally, "It's certainly the No. 1 item right now in terms of potential sources of new revenue. ... The issue here in Idaho, frankly, is the volume of traffic," which may not be high enough in the short term for toll roads to be attractive.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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