What do you do when you need $2.1 billion in funding for a bridge, but will only receive $1.2 billion from state and federal funding sources? You apply a toll to the bridge, in hopes that in time it will eventually recoup the remaining costs. That is the plan that the state of Louisiana is planning on doing for the rebuilding of the Calcasieu River Bridge along the I-10, and truckers will be feeling the burn from it.
Here is the current payment plan:
- Standard auto: $3.75.
- Medium truck: $3.82.
- Large Truck: $12.36.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development states that there are also toll tags that will be available for free, that, when applied to the vehicle, will reduce the price of crossing by around 33%. Large trucks would pay $8.25, for instance.
As to be expected, this pricing plan was met with detraction from commercial vehicle businesses. The Louisiana Motor Transport Association in particular had some choice words.
“Interstate 10 runs through the country, from Jacksonville, Florida, to Santa Monica, California. In the 2,460 miles that I-10 runs, there are no tolls throughout the seven states where the interstate intersects. The DOTD’s current plan of implementing tolling would provide the bridge and Louisiana with the only tolled portion of I-10 in the country. Allowing tolling on I-10 would set a poor precedent for our state nationally,” the Association said in a statement.
On its surface, it makes sense that a heavier truck would have to pay more, as they are inherently heavier and cause more marginal wear and tear to infrastructure as they pass on through. At the same time, those vehicles are driving for the purpose of making revenue, and cutting into that damages a fleet’s willingness to participate in the toll bridge in the first place. Paying double would make sense; paying more than triple does not.
Officials say that they hope to make a bridge that drivers will be more than willing to pay the fees in order to cross. With the current bridge built in the 1950s, the state of Louisiana hopes that when this bridge is finished, it will be much more durable and much more fancy.
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