After weighing their options, Iowa DOT says drivers will not have to pay tolls on I-80

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DAVENPORT-- Before this cost conscious carrier can get to where he needs to go, he has to make sure all of his product gets there with him. Every wooden fencing post on Tony Lake's truck is money in his pocket. But he would be willing to pay some of that money in tolls, if that meant a better, wider Interstate 80.

The Iowa Department of Transportation has a five year, $3.8 billion dollar plan to make I-80 wider. A study shows state and federal funds alone won't be enough to widen the four lane interstate to six.

One revenue option is adding 11 toll booths across the state.

Say you're taking a trip from Walcott, Iowa in Scott County to the other side of the state. Those tolls would cost drivers about $20. That's eight cents per mile.

Tony Lake is full speed ahead on the toll idea.

"As far as I'm concerned, if it's going to help keep the roads in better shape, I'm okay," says Lake.

Both other drivers want to pump the brakes.

"They can be really inconvenient. They slow me down a little bit. The change, all the process you have to do," says interstate driver Tony Mcgee.

And the Iowa DOT agrees.

On Monday the department took to twitter saying "We discussed the results of the study and determined we would not recommend or pursue tolling on i-80 and we're not doing further study of tolling."

So what now? Some options being tossed around by Iowa DOT directors and state senators are looking at raising truck and electric car licensing and registration fees and reevaluating the state balance sheets to find funds.

It's all about finding ways to make roads better for the drivers who depend on them.

The Iowa DOT Director says the project will start in 2022 and will take about five years to complete the 250 mile stretch.

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