Senate committee backs $5 I-70 toll, for now |

Senate committee backs $5 I-70 toll, for now

DENVER (AP) ” A Senate committee has backed a proposal to charge drivers up to $5 to drive each way on Interstate 70 to finance improvements to the highway, Colorado’s main east-west corridor and route to the state’s ski areas.

But three of the lawmakers who voted for it said they’re concerned about opposition to the plan from mountain communities and said it’s possible they may pull their support later. The bill now heads to the appropriations committee.

A steady stream of people, mostly from the mountains, testified against the bill, the first of two toll proposals considered Thursday.

Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany, a Republican from Colorado Springs, wants to charge a toll of up to $5 each way between Floyd Hill and the Eisenhower Tunnel.

The bill says the money would be used to expand the capacity of the highway but McElhany says it won’t preclude any of the possible solutions mountain communities are now studying. They’re looking at expanding the highway as well as adding mass transit, such as a train, and will make a decision by the end of May.

Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, has also proposed a toll to encourage car pooling and decrease traffic during peak travel times and add bus service.

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