The General Assembly has opened up the possibility of additional interstate tolling, a concept Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar says, while not a done deal, is the "most realistic" method of filling potential funding gaps for road work in the future. The Indiana Department of Transportation recently released a feasibility study on tolling, which suggests revenue from collections could exceed $53 billion between 2021 and 2050. Brinegar says expanding tolling beyond the Indiana Toll Road in northern Indiana and across the Ohio River Bridges in southeast Indiana is "not a forgone conclusion," but he says it could help offset costs like maintenance on interstates that are being widened all throughout the state.
The feasibility study, Brinegar says, is a first step in a process that would take several years. During an interview with Inside INdiana Business Television, Brinegar discussed how the state might proceed. "The General assembly did give the governor the authority to unilaterally decide whether to pursue tolling and where to pursue it.," Bringar said. "And they will look at where the greatest need is, and what revenue is likely to be generated from that segment of highway, then determine what’s the best approach and how to proceed."
The feasibility study considered tolling scenarios along I-64, I-65, I-69, I-70, I-74 and I-94. Brinegar says 40 percent of tolling revenue would come from out-of-state drivers.
The study suggests the combination of tolling, widening I-65 and I-70, and decreasing fuel taxes could boost Indiana’s Gross State Product nearly $27 billion over time. The 2018 General Assembly kicks off next Wednesday at the Statehouse and the Indiana Chamber will provide its annual Legislative Preview Monday in Indianapolis.