More Toll Roads in Minnesota? Lawmakers Mull the Idea

February 26, 2018 05:48 PM

State lawmakers are talking about adding more toll roads in Minnesota.

The state Department of Transportation was asked to study the impact of expanding toll roads. The Minnesota Tolling Report, a long-term feasibility study, was then presented to the Transportation and Regional Governance Policy Committee. 

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RELATED: Minnesota Legislature Orders Study of Toll Roads

Right now there are MnPASS lanes on interstates 394, 35W and 35E. Lawmakers want to know what would happen if more toll roads were built in the Twin Cities – or between the metro and St. Cloud, or to Duluth, or to Rochester.

This is a big-picture study that offered few specifics. The discussion centered on broader themes related to toll roads such as, do they ease congestion or raise revenue?

Rep. Regina Barr, R-Inver Grove Heights, asked about the impact on people with limited means. 

"I don't know a lot of people that could re-route themselves, you know, people that have kids and regular day jobs to go at different times of the day," she said. "So the reality is those people would have no choice but to pay whatever the current, regular hour fee is for that."

At billions of dollars, toll roads are expensive to build, officials say. But the study found that in other states with more toll roads, hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue is produced each year and congestion is reduced. 

This study offers long-term guidance to lawmakers. No action is expected on the issue this legislative session.

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Kevin Doran

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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