(West Memphis, AR) The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has posted a survey for drivers, to see if a toll lane may be possible in order to expand the I-40 corridor from West Memphis almost to Little Rock.
The survey, at http://www.ark40.com, can be taken until May 31. One does not need to be a resident of Arkansas to participate.
If Arkansas added a toll lane, it would be for the purpose of creating a third lane in both directions.
The project would be part of the federal Interstate System Construction Toll Pilot Program, where a state could only collect toll on a new lane being built, but not on existing lanes.
A project of this magnitude could cost as much as $1 billion. A spokesperson for AHTD said that Arkansas has the nation’s 12th largest highway system, but ranks 43rd in revenue for highways.
News Channel 3 asked some drivers of I-40 what they thought about tolls.
“If you set a certain amount for the toll, and it’s going to pay for it. When it’s paid for, they’d take the toll away. That would be fair enough,” said Floyd Metcalf, from Ohio.
Metcalf was on his way to Moore, OK, to help rebuild homes.
He said he would be willing to pay a toll for a better experience driving on the highway.
“If the faster lane was the toll lane, yeah. If they put the speed limit at 75 in the fast lane, and the fast lane pays the toll. There you go.”
But truck drivers feel the toll would actually slow things down.
Jackie Roney, from East Tennessee, said, “You have cars in front of you that are paying, you have to slow down to get through. And it to me, it’s not worth it.”
Others, like John Muenz from Michigan, said only being able to collect toll for one lane makes a dangerous situation.
“People are going to try and avoid that toll lane as much as possible, and make it crazier for the existing two lanes,” Muenz said.
The online survey asks drivers how much they would be willing to pay, if anything, to shorten their commute along that route.