The idea of setting up a tollbooth on a highway in St. John's has died a quick death.

St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe floated the possibility this week as a way to pressure municipal officials in nearby Mount Pearl into helping pay for the maintenance on the Team Gushue highway.

However, O'Keefe told CBC News Thursday that provincial government officials contacted the city shortly after the idea was made public to say that would contravene federal rules.

"What [city] officials have been told," he said, "is that if a highway is federally funded, then federal policy, apparently, is that it cannot be tolled. It cannot become a toll road."

The federal and provincial governments are paying the full cost of building the road; St. John's will pay the full cost of maintaining it. The costs to clear snow and maintain the road are estimated at $700,000 a year.

St. John's wants Mount Pearl to pay 25 per cent of that bill, arguing that up to half of the drivers who use it are from that city. But the council in Mount Pearl has refused, arguing that it's a provincial road, and the province should foot the bill.

When it's finished in 2011, the highway — named after Brad Gushue, who skipped Canada to a gold medal in men's curling at the 2006 Torino Olympics — will connect Kenmount Road with the Goulds Bypass Road.