Lake Charles, LA (KPEL News) - While Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry and Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter would like a new I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge construction to be toll free, the fee is a necessary evil if drivers want to fund a new one that crosses the river along the federal highway.

Truckers, for whom I-10 is a major thoroughfare, are not pleased.

According to the Louisiana Motor Transport Association, truckers view a toll as double-taxation. Drivers of all vehicles pay a gas tax.

Director for the Louisiana Motor Transport Association, Renee Amar, explains:

It would be as if every time a police officer or fireman showed up to your house, you had to pay them an extra fee for the services you are already paying for. That’s what toll is.

The proposed toll structure for someone traveling one way is:

  • 25 cents for local residents driving two-axle vehicles, including small trucks.
  • $3 for non-local residents and medium-sized trucks.
  • $8.25 for large trucks.

Governor Landry and the committee have not defined "local," but he has said that 60% of the money that comes from tolls will be from people who don't live in Louisiana.

The bridge would be the third state-owned toll structure in Louisiana. Currently, two toll bridges are operational:

The fees depend on residency and whether the car has a pre-paid tag.

The price to cross the I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge is significantly less than the other two in the state, but the interstate is traveled more frequently by commercial truckers.

California is the only other state that charges a toll to travel a 14 mile stretch on I-10, but it's only for the express lanes.

The projected toll is not set in stone, according to DOTD Secretary Joe Donahue. If the project is approved by the bond commission, which is the next step, Governor Landry's office will be working to find additional funding for the $2.1-billion project that could lower the cost of the tolls while the bridge is being built.

That's seven years. A lot can happen in seven years.

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