(West Memphis, AR) It’s a busy and a sometimes bumpy stretch of road between Memphis and North Little Rock, but this rocky road, if you will, is in need of repair.
To do just that, the state of Arkansas is looking at a plan to turn this section of Interstate 40 into a toll road.
Some drivers like Lee Ramsey say they shouldn’t have to shell out a dime.
Ramsey said, “I drive that way all the time. I’m always going to Memphis for work and pleasure and that would be an awful lot of money out of my pocket.”
The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Departments plan to hire a consultant to study the Interstate 40 toll road proposal.
The study was given the green light this week by the Arkansas Highway Commission because it says more cash is needed to pay for road improvements.
Eddie Krul is a driver who opposes the toll plan, “I think it’s a terrible idea. We pay for highways with our taxes I thought. They always need more money.”
The money would also pay for making the interstate three lanes in each direction in eastern Arkansas to Memphis.
But the state admits this plan is still just that and this is only a study to see if it’s a good idea.
Drivers such as Ralph Baker says the toll plan isn’t a good idea to him.
Baker said, “I pay gasoline taxes for a free interstate system and I’m already paying for the roads.
The state of Arkansas would still need to gain federal approval to convert the interstate into a toll road.
It’s a plan some drivers like Lee Ramsey hope will hit a roadblock, “I would try to find an alternate route, but if I had to I would pay it.”
A federal program allows interstates in up to three states to collect tolls to pay for road repairs.
Interstate 95 in Virginia and Interstate 70 in Missouri take part in the program.
South Carolina has received approval under a separate federal program.