Missouri seems intent on moving forward with truck-only lanes on Interstate 70. As I’ve previously written, the idea of a truck-only lane is a positive step in the right direction.
It separates trucks from cars and at the same time would presumably improve safety. As we know, many accidents involving trucks have more to do with automobile drivers who are just not skilled or knowledgeable when it comes to driving in and around trucks. This would eliminate that problem. Plus, truck-only lanes could speed commerce, which of course, could lead to lower consumer prices.
According to Missouri Dept. of Transportation project manager Bob Brendel, the idea has received favorable reviews. “We have talked to very few people who don’t like the idea,” he told the Joplin Globe. According to Brendel, about 10,000 trucks a day use I-70. That figure is expected to jump to 20,000 by 2030, according to the Globe.
A few months ago, Missouri, along with Illinois, Ohio and Indiana, entered into an agreement to use $5 million in federal funds to study the idea. The study says the cost of a truck-only lane would be as much as $4 billion. The question now is what next? Finding funding in these difficult times is not easy. And as much as the public likes any idea, views change once it impacts tax rates.
The solution, though, is simple.
Truck-only lanes could provide a massive safety enhancement for this country’s infrastructure. As the Obama administration considers delaying the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009, or more commonly called the highway reauthorization bill, so they can “get it right,” then we should get it right. Put the money necessary to fund this project in Missouri into the next highway bill so the taxpayers in the state don’t have to fund the project themselves. Then, if the project proves successful, the government will have a true blueprint for safety to use when it’s time for the next highway bill, perhaps in 12 years.