Debating the toll road lease

April 16, 2008
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As expected, Jim Schellinger and Jill Long Thompson are making Gov. Mitch Danielsâ?? lease of the Indiana Toll Road an issue in their campaign for the Democratic nomination to face him in November.

Both Democratic candidates have said they oppose his decision to hand over operation of the road to the private sector, and they repeated that stance last night during their first, and perhaps only, debate before the May 6 primary election.

From the beginning, Daniels has contended that the lease to the Macquarie-Cintra consortium unlocked $3.8 billion for building roads and other infrastructure to make the state more competitive.

In the two-plus years Hoosiers have debated the lease, the pros and cons seem to come down to a philosophical question of whether public assets should be operated by government or the private sector.

What do you think?
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  • The toll road is a lease not a purchase, the generating revenue from it will help with needed road construction projects for many years. If we had not leased it, and we kept on with the state owning it would not have generated the revenue needed for other projects and it's own upkeep. Everyone needs to realize, this is thinking and working outside of the box, it is what we asked for and got with Mitch Daniels. He has my vote to keep up with innovative government. By the way, wasn't that only a third of a percent of highways in Indiana, seems like a small price to pay for the benefit.
  • The toll road was a lease. Thank God one person in Indiana besides me understands what a lease is. (thank you JMB). We still own it and can re-lease it when the lease is up to someone else. And while owning the asset, we do not have to pay for the care and upkeep. the lessee does. It's what smart investors do to create cash flow and revenue. (Own the property and let someone else pay for all the expenses and still pay you to use it.) It was exactly the right thing to do and I applaud Mitch Daniels for being a smart business person first and a politician second.
  • Are you guys actually suggesting that the private sector could do a better job managing something that the government could?

    P.S. wrought with sarcasm...
  • That should say than
  • And we have to listen to all the Dems echoing the words of their uninformed supporters, He sold the toll road. Think about it folks before you want to lend your support to people that will take us backward. I don't know why they want to continue to give this lip service because it's a done deal, thank goodness.
  • Just to repeat for the learning disabled dems, it was a lease, not a sale. It just shows how ignorant many are including the candidates about business.

    They just released numbers that the lease has earned the State arond $200 million on interest on the $3.8 Billion. That does not include the money the State has saved on maintenance, road construction, policing etc.... And to consider the fact we were losing millions on the road since the legislature refused to raise the tolls for 20 year, it is a good deal.

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