Utah Commission Considering Funds for I-15 Construction

Sat February 03, 2007 - West Edition

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) State transportation commissioners are considering a proposal to fund Interstate 15 construction in Utah County with tolls.

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) presented the transportation commission with a study on Jan. 19. According to the study, tolling two lanes on I-15 could pay for up to 13 percent of the estimated $3 billion to rebuild I-15 in Utah County.

The commission requested the study, but did not take any action on it Jan. 19. Implementing the idea isn’t as simple as just adding a fee.

UDOT began offering a $50 monthly pass for solo drivers who wanted to pay to be allowed to drive in the car-pool lane. But states are prohibited by federal law from charging tolls on “existing” lanes.

Because the car-pool lanes were an addition, the state was allowed to add the toll. Charging to use another lane would be against the law unless the lane was newly built.

“I guess the conclusion is, in order to create a [toll] facility that generates revenue, there would have to be some pretty bold changes in the way we operate I-15,” UDOT Project Manager Merrill Jolley said.