Toll road proposal for certain parts of E. TN

Knoxville (WVLT) -- If one organization has its way, you could be forced to pay a toll to drive through certain parts of East Tennessee.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford has more on the toll road proposal.

The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization Board voted Wednesday to spend $250,000 in state funds for T-DOT to further analyze if putting in a toll road would pay for itself.

But dozens of concerned citizens say this is a big mistake.

Concerned Hardin Valley citizen David Cochran says, "It's just another way of taxing the citizens."

28 out of 30 citizens voiced some strong opposition of the proposed toll road to the Knoxville Regional TPO.

Concerned Knox County resident Remi Joyeuse says, "I think it's a bad idea for Knoxville. I think it's a bad idea for Tennessee."

The 59 mile toll road would be broken into two legs.

The first would run through Hardin Valley.

Jeff Welch with the TPO says, "The Knoxville Parkway would connect from I-75 north to I-40/75 south. So it would be portions of Anderson County, Knox and Loudon Counties."

The second leg would go through North Knox County, up into Sevier County.

One of the main reasons the TPO wants the toll road comes down to money, or lackthereof.

Welch says, "Revenue for transportation infrastructure is significantly flat over the past several years, while construction costs and asphalt and maintenance costs have increased."

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam says, "Personally, I'm not a fan of toll roads. I think the state has a problem on funding roads, but I don't think a toll road's the way to do it."

Drivers would pay 15 cents a mile for the toll, which means the entire 59 mile route would cost more than eight dollars.

Cochran says, "There's going to have to be toll booths built. There's going to be people staffing them. There's going to be people waiting to pay the tolls."

The TPO is hoping the toll road would ease congestion away from I-40, but some citizens say that's completely counterproductive.

Cochran says, "One of the things that makes East Tennessee a great place is no toll roads, and we're about to take a step backwards in terms of our quality of life."

The TPO says it may take five years before this proposal is even passed.

The results of T-DOT's study should be back to the TPO board in about six months.

The board will then decide whether or not to recommend the toll road to the state legislature.

For a look at the proposed map in detail click on the link below.


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  • by Matt Location: Oklahoma on Oct 9, 2010 at 09:14 AM
    The commenters so far believe they are paying enough to maintain the roads and build new ones. The trouble is they are almost certainly paying less in road use taxes than they did two decades ago. Fuel taxes are not indexed to inflation. The problem has become so bad at the federal level that it has become necessary to use general taxpayer revenues to prop up the trust fund. Subsidies to drivers are growing unsustainably. Toll road proposals are simply a way to pay for new road capacity without raising fuel taxes or relying on general revenue. Its may feel good blaming this or that politician. But in the end there are no free rides or free roads!
  • by Jeff Location: Knoxville on Jul 18, 2008 at 10:07 AM
    I myself used to live in New York where toll roads were everywhere. I can tell you this would be a large mistake on many fronts. You will see large traffic jams due to breakdowns, and trucks doubling in size due to toll roads. Not to mention the fact of having to get back up to speed if you are a trucker or just someone going on vacation with a trailor. New York has realized what a probem the tolls have become and has slowly started dismantleing them to create more free flowing highways. Raise the cost of registration or the taxes, but please do not put more barriers in the way of one of the largest traveled stretches on the east cost. Yours trully from 30 years of toll experience. Jeff
  • by Joe Location: Knoxville on Feb 29, 2008 at 11:06 AM
    I wouldn't support toll roads. Don't tell me road money in Knoxville hasn't been wasted over the last 30 years. We're way behind Nashville & Memphis which both have bypass loops taking traffic 30 miles around the city. Knoxville still passes 2 interstates through downtown. Poor planning, crooked contractors, and dumb politicians caused our current problems. Let them pay for it
  • by bonnie Location: east Knoxville on Feb 29, 2008 at 08:57 AM
    Take a look at the loop road around Nashville: no tolls. The roads around Memphis and the spur north of Chattanooga: no tolls. Knoxville has done something to earn the honor (tongue firmly in cheek) of paying to drive on decent roads. And the plan will make for a nice polluted basin for all the truck fumes going through these valleys. Seven counties, one vision, too myopic to matter.
  • by Jack Location: Sevier County on Feb 28, 2008 at 05:03 PM
    These P.P.P. deals are an absolute joke. One, or more, of these scum politicians, most likely, are being bought off by a firm that will provide the capital to build the toll road. For instance, Cintra -- a Spanish company owned by Juan Carlos I of Spain -- is building the Trans-Texas Corridor. For their efforts, they will be in charge of this infrastructure (collecting tolls) for seventy years. Haslam and all of the other scum that voted for this study need to be thrown out of office. We, the people, need to unite and throw these bureaucratic scum out on the proverbial street -- the sooner the better! Also, how many acres of land will be seized by the criminal eminent domain laws?
  • by Regina Location: Sevier County on Feb 28, 2008 at 01:34 PM
    I know where they might find more money...don't pay for an analysis. The toll roads would be detrimental because it would force some to go around which would take away money along with paying for the structures to be built and employees to be paid. We seem to be having a problem with local politicians and their honesty without adding more ways for the rich to get richer. If one thing comes out about helping schools I may scream. Every time we're ordered or asked to pay more money it is for the schools and I have seen no improvement in that area. What is the point except to spend more money and cause the public to tighten their budgets even more because I must say, if I have to travel in those areas I will certainly go around the toll roads because this is just ridiculous. These people need to focus on making our lives easier, not more complicated and expensive. This is an issue that I will not back and could never be convinced to do so.
  • by Mike Location: Corryton on Feb 28, 2008 at 12:31 PM
    NO on Toll Roads.Building New Highways as well as mainatance for them is what we all have been the paying at the Gas Pumps in the way of Fuel Taxes.
  • by Vivian Location: Knoxville on Feb 28, 2008 at 07:50 AM
    We do not need toll roads in Knoxville or anywhere in Tn. We want to encourage people to use the bypass to ease the dangerous condition of our current roadway system, not charge them to stay off of it! It discriminates against the poor and elderly citizens, also.
  • by Larry on Feb 28, 2008 at 07:30 AM
    Because we don't pay enough at the pumps to support our roads already and truckers pay even more then we do..... I would like to know where all OUR money is going, this is ridiculous. I find it appalling that every time I pass work crews working on the roads its almost always 2 people working while 4 or more people are watching doing nothing.
  • by Calvin Location: Oliver Springs on Feb 28, 2008 at 07:13 AM
    I think TDOT should build a road that bi-pass Knoxvile completely, and give travelers the option to go around Knoxville, if they really don't have a reason to stop in Knoxville, It makes to sense to me keep building so called Bi-pass, that will take you through the City of Knoxville! This is kind of thinking is ludicrous.
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