Groups align for possible court challenge of the Indiana Toll Road

| 4/5/2006

The leasing of the Indiana Toll Road isn’t sitting well with three political watchdog groups in the state.

Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a bill into law Wednesday, March 15, authorizing the lease of the Indiana Toll Road to a foreign group – Cintra and Macquarie Infrastructure Group – for 75 years at a cost of $3.85 billion.

The Citizens Action Coalition, Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads and the COUNT US organization have teamed up in an attempt to challenge the lease in the court room.

The groups paid for an Indianapolis law firm to issue an opinion on the legality of the lease. According to the Web site set up by the groups, the Major Moves legislation, which authorizes the lease of the Indiana Toll Road, and the Lease Agreement together violate the Indiana Constitution.

The constitutional challenge centers on the fact that the leasing company will keep net proceeds from the Toll Road and that the lump sum payment to lease the road will not go to the state’s general fund to reduce the public debt.

The groups cite Article 10, §2 of the Indiana Constitution. The section prohibits such an arrangement and mandates that net annual income from public works to be used to pay down public debt.

The groups have a deadline of April 10 to file their court challenge and are currently seeking donations to offset what is anticipated to be a costly court challenges.

For more information on the groups and their planned court challenge, visit Links to the groups involved can be found on the lower left side of the screen.