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MoDOT seeks public’s help in figuring out 21st century I-70 upgrade

Eastbound Interstate 70 at the I-435 interchange gets backed up as I-70 narrows to two lanes, forcing traffic to slow down every rush hour.
Eastbound Interstate 70 at the I-435 interchange gets backed up as I-70 narrows to two lanes, forcing traffic to slow down every rush hour. DAVID EULITT/The Kansas City Star

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission wants you to figure out the I-70 mess.

Meeting Wednesday in Kansas City, MoDOT and the MHTC unveiled a program called “Road to Tomorrow.” They want the private sector, entrepreneurs, and others to submit ideas for rebuilding and expanding I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis.

“We’re open to any and all ideas,” chairman Stephen Miller said in a statement.

Those ideas could include GPS technology, self-driving car lanes, new materials and other ideas. But the commission also wants ideas on how to pay for all of it, a much tougher job.

Lawmakers have rejected increases in the gas taxes, and the public recently rejected a sales tax for roads. Proposals to turn I-70 into a toll road have also struggled.

It’s estimated that adding lanes to I-70 across the state would cost north of $4 billion. MoDOT lacks that kind of cash.

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