Diversion of Indiana toll lease interest money quashed

| 3/23/2007

A bill has been sidelined in the Indiana Senate that sought to mark $60 million in interest from the Indiana Toll Road lease for use on local road and street work during the next two years.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, sent the bill - HB1830 - to the Senate Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee and confirmed it is dead for the session. The Democratic-led House previously approved the measure along party lines by a slim margin of 51-48.

The money would have been routed from interest earned on a construction fund that was created when the state handed over responsibility for the 152-mile stretch of Interstate 90 to a consortium of foreign companies for 75 years.

According to an analysis of the bill, the state has earned about nearly $43 million in interest.

Long said lawmakers made a pledge a year ago to spend the money on state transportation needs. He pointed out that local governments already get infusions of money from other sources, The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, IN, reported.