Indiana is lucky to have toll lease

August 17, 2009

The Aug. 3 story “Toll Road lease tumbles in value” stated Indiana’s private toll road operator has aggressively hiked tolls with the full-length trip for a car going from $4.65 to $8. The facts are that toll increases are strictly limited in the contract and cars using electronic tolling have had no increase and are still paying the $4.65 toll rate set in 1985, one of the lowest per-mile tolls in the nation. They will continue to pay that rate until 2016.

Traffic is down on the toll road due to the recession, but thankfully Indiana shifted this risk to the private sector and is not burdened with paying the costs of maintaining the road with fewer paying customers.

Other states haven’t been so fortunate: Oklahoma just raised tolls 16 percent; West Virginia just raised tolls 60 percent for cash and out-of-state EZ Pass users; New York City tunnel and bridge tolls rose 10 percent last July, and Massachusetts just appropriated $100 million through a sales-tax increase to pay the debt service on the Massachusetts Turnpike and avoid raising tolls.

Ryan Kitchell
Director, Indiana Office of Management and Budget

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