INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (January 14, 2016) – Indiana lawmakers want to study the idea of having to pay a toll to drive on I-65 and I-70.
“Those are our two highest cost roads to maintain in the state. They account for a large portion of our overall expenditure on state roads. That would free up money from our budget that could be used to repair other roads throughout the state,” said State Representative Ed Soliday (R – Valparaiso)
According to Soliday, tolling I-65 and I-70 could free up $365 million a year from the state’s transportation budget.
A 2013 INDOT study showed tolls on the two highways could pay to make the roads 6 lanes border to border across the state, pay for a complete rebuild of the Indiana portion of I-70, and pay for maintenance of both highways forever.
“To not study it would be almost irresponsible because a large portion of traffic on those roads are non-Hoosier trucks that are not stopping in our state for so much as a Snickers bar,” said Soliday.
“Infrastructure is mandatory so you’ve got to keep it up, but hitting everybody over the head, I don’t know maybe they should raise taxes,” said Indiana driver, Deon Fuller.
Revenue sources to pay for millions in Indiana road projects is down from years past. With lower gas prices, fuel tax collections are not what they used to be and as a result lawmakers are seeking cash elsewhere.
“I think it would help, but as long as it doesn’t break our pocket,” said another Indiana driver.
Soliday’s proposal is a part of a larger highway funding bill. The bill needs to pass through the House Roads and Transportation Committee, receive approval from the full House and Senate, and get signed into law by the Governor. INDOT will then have to hire a third party to conduct the study. New tolls also go through an extensive federal vetting process so it will likely be years before we see any new tolls on Indiana interstates, if at all.