INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
The funding plan drafted by Indiana House Republicans for long-term road
improvements would allow the state to explore options for tolling along some
highways to address an expected drop in gas tax revenue.
The plan, announced
this month, has drawn attention for its call for an immediate 10-cent
increase in the state gas tax to pay for long-term infrastructure projects.
But the bill also includes language about tolling, including the possibility
of Indiana applying for a federal waiver to place tolls on interstate
If approved, the
plan would not require any future vote on tollways by lawmakers once a
specific tolling plan is in place. Instead, it would leave that up to the
discretion of the governor.
By 2021, the
revenue generated by the state’s gas tax is expected to begin declining,
said Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso. He said tolling is a funding option for
“We have to fill
that gap, and tolling is a way,” he told The Journal Gazette.
tolling is a way to get money from out-of-state drivers who might not stop
for gas while driving through Indiana. However, tolling would also affect
the 75 percent of drivers who live in Indiana and would be paying both at
the pump and the toll booth.
The House plan’s
options include adding tolling on current interstates, which would require
federal approval. Another option would be adding more lanes to highways and
replacing bridges on interstates, and then tolling the entire roadway. A
third idea in the legislation is for Indiana to add truck-only toll lanes.
tolling have generally focused on interstates 65 and 70, where congestion is
a concern. So far, Interstate 69 has not been included in the conversation.
Under the House
bill, the Indiana Department of Transportation would have to submit a
request to the Federal Highway Administration for a waiver to toll highway
lanes. INDOT would also have to hire a consultant to conduct a feasibility
study on tolling, including tolling rates, vehicle counts and traffic
The Indiana Motor
Truck Association would be open to a discussion on tolling for new capacity,
but adding tolls for existing infrastructure is a non-starter, said Gary
Langston, the association’s president.
Langston said there
has been much discussion of truck-only lanes but not much progress, and his
members continue to support using the fuel tax. “We have to do everything we
can to be able to move freely and move commerce,” he said.