SB 585 - This act allows the Department of Transportation to construct toll roads under certain conditions.
TOLL ROADS AUTHORIZATION - This act authorizes the commission to construct, maintain and operate toll facilities on the state highway system. The commission is authorized to issue state toll facility revenue bonds to finance toll facility projects authorized by the General Assembly. Such bonds may be issued without the consent of the General Assembly. Bonds issued for toll facility projects shall not be deemed to constitute a debt or liability of the state and shall be payable solely from the state toll facility fund. Toll facility bonds shall be exempt from taxation. The commission is required to obtain a study of the proposed toll facility project by one or more qualified independent consultants prior to commencing any project (Section 226.1200).
TOLL FACILITY PROJECTS - Prior to the commencement of any toll facility project, the Director of Transportation shall obtain a study of the proposed toll facility project by a qualified independent consultant. If the Director of Transportation determines, based upon the study, that the toll facility project is in the best interest of the state, the Director of Transportation shall then be required to obtain approval of the toll facility project by the General Assembly (Section 226.1200.3).
SPECIFIC TOLL FACILITY PROJECTS - Under the enabling legislation, the General Assembly authorizes a toll facility projects to be constructed upon Interstate 70 between St. Louis and Kansas City. The commission is authorized to construct these toll facility projects with the design-build project delivery system (Section 226.1205). The toll for traveling the entire length of Interstate 70 is capped at $5 (indexed for inflation).
STATE TOLL FACILITY FUND - The act establishes within the state treasury the "State Toll Facility Fund" which shall stand appropriated without any legislative action (Section 226.205). All tolls, fees, state toll facility revenue bond proceeds, and other charges imposed for using toll facilities shall be credited to the fund. The fund shall be used to pay:
(1) The costs of issuing state toll facility revenue bonds and refunding bonds, the costs of feasibility studies and the costs for constructing toll facilities;
(2) The cost of collecting toll facility revenues;
(3) The principal and interest on any outstanding state toll facility revenue bonds and refunding bonds.
If revenues in the state toll facility fund are insufficient to pay for authorized costs, the commission shall transfer amounts from the state road fund to keep the toll facility fund solvent. Transfers from the state road fund shall be repaid in the time and manner determined by the commission. The commission is authorized to continue to collect tolls and fees on all toll facilities until all costs have been repaid. Any amount in the state toll facility fund in excess of what is needed to pay authorized costs shall be transferred to the state road fund.
COLLECTION AND ENFORCEMENT OF TOLLS - The commission may use any method for imposing and collecting tolls, including toll tickets, barrier toll facilities, billing accounts, commuter passes and electronic recording or identification devices (Section 226.1215). The act further outlines the enforcement mechanisms the Department of Transportation may utilize to ensure that motorists pay for using state toll roads. The commission may enforce the payment of tolls by using automated enforcement technology, including automatic vehicle license plate identification photography and video surveillance. The use of such automated enforcement technology may be used only for the purpose of recording the image of the nonpaying motorist's license plate. Photo monitoring system evidence which shows that a motorist has failed to pay a toll shall raise a rebuttable presumption that the motor vehicle was used in violation of the law. A collection fee, not to exceed $100, may be charged to recover the cost of collecting an unpaid toll (Section 226.1230). A motorist who fails to pay a toll shall be guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $200 (Section 226.1230.6). The act allows a court to install a device on the nonpaying motor vehicle that prohibits its movement. The nonpaying motorist may also have his or her motor vehicle registration voided until the toll and all fines are paid. The act also outlines what procedures must be taken in order to collect tolls and issue traffic citations.
This act is contingent upon the passage of a constitutional amendment that authorizes the Department of Transportation to construct and operate toll facilities. This act is similar to SB 13 (2009), SB 793 (2008), SB SB 652 (2006), 855 (2004) and SB 193 (2003).