For whom the highway tolls: Minnesota to study expanding toll roads

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MOORHEAD, Minn. (Valley News Live): Having to pay extra to drive on highways each weekend to and from lakes country: that could be a reality sooner than you think. A small section of the Minnesota Transportation bill requires a study of toll roads. That report must be submitted by early next year, and will look at expanding toll highways statewide. Is this really something Minnesota needs?

There’s another wrench being tossed into the debate now on how to pay for roads and bridges in Minnesota. The small section, only a few sentences, talks about studying expanding MNPASS in the cities, and statewide, creating more toll highways to raise revenue.

The report is to include studying toll roads to reduce congestion, a look at what other states have done and potentially how much money they could raise.

“It impacts everybody's world if you ask me for the simple fact of the matter is we are already paying taxes on these roads and you're raping me in taxes,” said Thomas Nelms from North Carolina. “I mean they're raping anybody else in taxes. It’s not fair to the average taxpayer to be charged to drive down the road you're already getting taxes taken out on."

Imagine if I-94 from Moorhead to the cities required a toll, or even Highway 10 for that matter. They’re two major arteries for people getting to and from lakes country, not to mention moving commerce.

“It's going to have a big impact on what you do for a living,” said Reporter Bradford Arick.

"Well yeah but it just it gets passed on to you guys the customer or consumers you know,” said truck driver Seth Klatt from North Branch, Minnesota.

The Minnesota Trucking Association’s stance is that this won’t work.

“The Minnesota Trucking Association opposes the expansion of toll roads in Minnesota,” said President of the Assocation John Hausladen in an email. “Toll studies have been conducted before and determined there is little potential or appetitive for toll roads in Minnesota. We think this latest study will yield the same result.”

The report is to be submitted by January 2, 2018

What do you think, do we need toll highways in Minnesota to help pay for infrastructure? Leave your comment on our Facebook page.