New Utah law permits tolling any road
March 27, 2018
It’s a done deal in Utah. A new law gives the state expanded authority to collect tolls on any roadway.
Until now Utah law has permitted the use of tolls to cover state expenses. Tolling authority, however, was limited to new roads.
Gov. Gary Herbert has signed into law a bill to remove the restriction on roads that can be tolled.
Previously SB71, the new law also states that legislative approval is not necessary for any project to move forward. Instead, the Utah Department of Transportation will be responsible for making decisions on tolls.
Outgoing Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, sponsored the bill. During committee discussion on the bill, he said congestion issues continue to worsen around the state despite efforts over the past couple of decades to address the issue.
Niederhauser said that the state needs to start preparing now for big changes in how transportation revenue is raised. He has referred to fuel tax collection as “obsolete.”
He has added that $600 million already is routed from the state’s general fund to roads to help cover costs.
“We have to deal with the reality there will be some sort of vehicle-miles-driven or tolling to pay for roads.”
The Utah Trucking Association is opposed to resorting to tolls. Instead, the group told legislators they support increases in fuel tax.
The new law requires a study for how to best collect tolls from out-of-state drivers. The study also will look at toll collection from rental car drivers.
In addition, the state DOT is authorized to use license plate scanning technology to charge a toll on any state road. The agency is also permitted to use the technology to impose penalties for non-payment.
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