Indiana Tolling

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Welcome to Indiana - Now Pay up

Could this become a reality for the Hoosier state. What a way to roll out the welcome mat. Many states have toll roads. The most would be states like Florida and New York which have their thruways and turnpikes, but even there, there are more freeways then tollways in these states. And tollways are seen as a long distance means of travel and typically do not serve commuters which many of Indiana's existing interstates do. Indiana already has an image issue when it comes to travel and tourism, and the last thing that we want to do is to discourage people from visiting our state because of having to pay tolls everywhere they travel. Kentucky removed tolls from it's parkways to open up its state and has some of the best freeways in the country. In fact they have nearly upgraded I-65 to 6 lanes through the entire state, a massive feat that will set them far ahead of their neighbors and ensure that Kentucky is open to commerce. Indiana needs to follow suit, but do it without tolls.

The problem with tolling

Tolling is a regressive tax

Tolling is a tax. Albeit a use tax, but it is still a tax. what makes it regressive is that those that have the highest incomes are least affected financially by the tolls than those who have the lowest incomes. Some people that have a hard time being able to keep gas in the car will now have to drive additional miles and avoid the toll roads to avoid having to pay the exorbitant tolls proposed by the state. Sure initially they seem small but $0.50 a mile adds up quickly and on a 15 mile trip that is $7.50 toll one way in just one trip. Even at $0.25 per mile it would be $3.25 for that same trip. And would that really close the highway funding gap as the state claims. Not likely. What is not factored in is the cost to collect the tolls. Electronic tolling systems still require employees in call centers ran by third party companies that will charge the state a share of the tolls collected as a fee in collecting them. Not only that but the tolling gantries have to be installed at several million dollars around the state.

Tolling would be done on freeways already paid for with taxpayer money.

If anyone doesn't see an issue with this I cannot see why. The interstate highways that the state legislature is studying placing tolls on have long been paid for and even upgrades have been completed and paid for. In addition, tolling a highway such as I-65 and then diverting that money to a state road project far away in a remote part of the state away from I-65 would be a misuse of the tolls collected along that highway. Shouldn't the money collected there be only allowed for use on the road collected? It's common sense. Are we really going to get into a situation where we lease away our highways to a consortium so that we can repair our dilapidating infrastructure.

Why penalize people for mismanagement and deferred maintenance

So where did the road funds go. What is the state doing to guarantee that there is money in the budget to repair and replace and even upgrade the roads we have but also add roads we need. That question would stymie us all I am afraid. What happened to federal aid dollars that came in to help build new projects. The reality is people do not clamor and protest for roads. They do that for government benefits and welfare, healthcare and disability. Don't get me wrong there are some that legitimately need access to social programs, but if we overspend in those areas and have too much fraud waste and abuse then it's no wonder that there isn't any money left for roads and transportation.

When in dire need go after their pocketbooks

It seems that whenever faced with a crisis that government's first response it to raise taxes or propose new fees (taxes), or now try to turn free paid for roads into revenue generating "toll" (tax) roads. Why not try cutting spending in the transportation budget or looking at other state budgets to see where money can be trimmed so that it can be allocated more appropriately into where it will benefit the people the greatest. With safer, more efficient, and better roads.

Taking Action

The reality is we can take action but it requires you. If you don't want to have to pay potentially thousands of dollars a year in tolls you need to let your state assemblymember and senator know, and contact the governor's office. Write letters if you have to telling them you adamantly oppose open tolling on freeways in the state.

Can tolling be a benefit?

Not opposed to all Toll Roads

Tolling when used in the right ways can be a beneficial source of income or help pay off construction costs related to new capitol investments (new road projects) or major upgrades to a highway.

Areas where tolling can be used

Tolling can be used on brand new highway projects like bypasses or new expressways where construction bonds are issued to help pay for the cost of construction. For dedicated lanes such a HOT lanes or HOV-toll lanes. These lanes allow people to carpool for reduced or no toll but opens the road to those not carpooling that need access for a free.Areas where constructions bonds were issued to pay for road projects.