A plan unveiled this fall by Indiana Gov.
Mitch Daniels may be in for some changes. Public hearings to discuss the plan –
which includes a 120 percent toll increase for trucks – have been delayed until
The plan could also lead to tolls being
used to extend Interstate 69 from
Perhaps the worst news for truckers and
other drivers, is that the plan calls for increasing
fees on the
Indiana Toll Road
by 72 percent for cars and 120 percent for large trucks.
executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association,
truckers should demand a credit for fuel taxes paid on toll road miles.
“When you talk about more than doubling the
toll rate set for vehicles operating on that road, you’re talking about a
tremendous increase that most people would concur would be really hard to
swallow,” Spencer said. “At a minimum, truckers should be urging state
officials to approve allowing them to take a credit on their fuel taxes for
miles run on the toll road.”
As part of his 10-year, $10.6 billion
statewide highway construction plan, Daniels brought up the possibility of
leasing the Toll Road and an extended I-69 to a private group, which would keep
the tolls in exchange for operating and maintaining the roadways.
At least six companies are working with
the state on bids for the
’s The Journal Gazette reported.
Any leasing plans would require approval
from the Indiana General Assembly.
Congress encouraged such public-private
partnerships in the Highway Bill approved in August. The legislation authorizes
$15 billion in tax-exempt bonds for privately financed highways and simplifies
their environmental planning process.
Several states already utilize the
partnerships in various forms, including
Daniels’ office plans to increase
its own beginning this spring. The revenue would be used to maintain the road
and pay for other highway work.
Daniels said toll rates have not increased
since 1985 and no longer meet maintenance needs.
Under the governor’s plan, dubbed “Major
Moves,” increases on the
would vary by distance driven. The toll for passenger vehicles traveling the
entire 157-mile route would rise from $4.65 to $8. Tractor-trailer rates for
driving the same distance would increase from $14.55 to $32.
The toll increases would generate an
estimated $770 million in 10 years.
“Very little of this will happen on a
business-as-usual basis,” Daniels said in a written statement. “Without new
approaches that stretch dollars and access new funding sources, only a fraction
of these projects will happen within the next decade. Some will never happen.”
is seeking higher tolls in part because he said he would not support a hike in
the state’s per-gallon taxes on gasoline and diesel to pay for roadwork.
Daniels cited high fuel costs.
The Indiana Department of Transportation
postponed two public hearings scheduled for early this month on the toll hike.
Gary Abell, director of communications for the agency, said the meetings would
be rescheduled for early 2006.
In the meantime, public comments on the
proposed toll increase on the
may be submitted to INDOT by mailing
Department of Transportation
100 N Senate Ave
, Room N758
Comments also can be sent via e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax to (317) 232-0238.
– By Keith Goble, state