Truckers predicted that tolls would increase after the lease of the Indiana Toll Road to private investors in 2006.
Tolls did increase this week by 25 percent for heavy trucks, but that increase was approved by state lawmakers before the road was leased to a consortium of infrastructure investors comprised of Cintra of Spain and Macquarie of Australia
The increase for heavy trucks took effect Sunday, April 1. Tolls for five-axle trucks running the entire 157-mile route increased from $18 to $22.50.
A spokesman for the ITR Concession Co. told Land Line Magazine the additional revenue will pay for a third driving lane on each side of the median in Lake County and complete the installation of electronic toll lanes at all access points along the entire length of the road.
“Revenue from the toll increase will go right back into the toll road,” said spokesman Matt Pierce. “It’s not going into someone’s pocket.”
Pierce said ITR Concession Co. officials plan to evaluate toll rates each year to determine the need for future increases. But, legislation already in place has the truck tolls set to increase to $27.25, in 2008 and $32 in 2009.
Electronic toll lanes will be installed by the fall of this year, he said. That will give motorists and truck drivers the option of using cash lanes to pay tolls, or opening a pre-paid account and using an electronic transponder to pass through the toll area at highway speed.
Pierce said the company has received several calls from truckers who didn’t know the rates were going up.
“A concern of the truckers is that this only affects semis,” Pierce said.
He said tolls are frozen for passenger vehicles until the electronic toll lanes are installed. That was written into the private lease of the toll road.
ITR Concession Co. leased the toll road in June 2006, paying the state of Indiana $3.85 billion up front to operate the road and keep the tolls for 75 years.
A complete list of tolls is available online at indianatollroad.org.
– By David Tanner, staff writer