The governor of Indiana says that he will not impose any more new interstate tolls during his administration, in part because he has already raked in enough money from a recent truck-only toll increase to fund a whole slew of infrastructure improvements.
On Thursday, November 29, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb told other lawmakers that he will not go ahead with a plan to implement new interstate tolls during his administration. This plan would have tolled both passenger and commercial vehicles to fund infrastructure improvements.
The announcement comes just a few weeks after tolls were increased for trucks-only on the Indiana Toll Road. On October 5, 2018, tolls for Class 3 or higher vehicles on the Indiana Toll Road went up by 35%. The toll rate for passenger vehicles did not increase.
According to the Indiana Motor Truck Association, the toll rate increase bumped up the amount that truckers must pay to cross the entire 157 mile toll road from $86.60 to $116.91
The truck-only toll increase was part of a deal brokered by Holcomb called the Next Level Connections agreement. Per this deal, in exchange for the truck-only toll increase, the Indiana Toll Road Concession Company (ITRCC) is set to give state transportation officials $1 billion to use for infrastructure projects (mostly). While a large part of that $1 billion was earmarked for road construction, $100 million will be put toward a program to increase broadband access in rural communities while another $90 million will be used to build more hiking trails.
In a letter to delivered to budget committee members on November 29 explaining the reason that Holcomb would not move forward with interstate tolling, he wrote:
“In addition, our Next Level Connections agreement, finalized in October, provides nearly $800 million more for road construction and maintenance over the coming years. Indiana has more road construction underway than ever before … Therefore, I will not move forward with a plan to toll Indiana’s interstate highways.”
Holcomb says that it’s possible that that interstate tolls could still be in Indiana’s future once he is out of office. “I do not want to foreclose a successor from considering tolling as an option for infrastructure improvements,” he wrote.