Arizona has applied to the Federal Highway Administration to institute tolling on a remote stretch of I-15 in the northwestern corner of the state, the Arizona Republic reported.
Arizona faces a $251 million bill to make necessary repairs to I-15, according to its request to the FHWA, and tolling appears to be the most promising method of raising the money. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) would charge passenger cars $1 to $3 and truckers between $6 and $10 to travel the 29-mile segment of I-15 that crosses the corner of the state between Utah and Nevada.
The freeway is a major route for trucks (about 25% of the traffic) and tourists, so many of the toll payers will not be Arizona residents. The Arizona Trucking Association has already spoken up in opposition to tolling existing highways.
Arizona is competing with several other states for the last opening in a pilot program to add tolls to three existing interstates. Virginia and Missouri already have been approved for pilot projects.
Arizona plans to conduct studies next year of the tolling plan’s financial and environmental feasibility.
The Arizona segment of I-15 was expensive to construct in 1973, and since then the state has repaired the seven bridges over the Virgin River nine times. Earlier this year, ADOT found cracks in the steel girders and broken welds and joints in some of those bridges. ADOT asked the state for $30 million a year for repairs but was turned down. Last month, the agency applied for a federal grant of $25 million.