A bill in the Utah State Legislature would give the state the ability to establish new tolls even on pre-existing roads.
Proposed by Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, the bill passed the House with a 49-21 vote and got through the Senate with unanimous support. Niederhauser claims that new tolls are necessary to raise funds to make up for declines in the gas tax, to deal with increased traffic congestion, and to pay for road repairs.
The bill, SB71, would give the state new authority over tolling and traffic fines. It would:
- Allow the state transportation commission to establish tolls on pre-existing roads
- Allow the state to use new technologies such as traffic cameras and video technology to issue fines to drivers
- Use those new technologies to put a hold on vehicle registrations for drivers that have unpaid tolls
- Allow the state to establish tolls on pre-existing federal highways
Currently, it is illegal for any new tolls to be established on pre-existing interstates. This bill would allow Utah to immediately establish new tolls if that federal law is overturned. The current White House infrastructure plan proposes doing exactly that.
SB-71 will now go to Governor Gary Herbert for his signature.