A national trade association representing small business trucking professionals is suing the state of Indiana. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says the lawsuit is in response to the 35 percent increase in tolls for heavy vehicles, implemented as part of Governor Eric Holcomb’s Next Level Connections plan last fall.
Holcomb announced the plan in September. The toll increase is part of efforts to raise $1 billion for the program. The OOIDA says the tolls imposed by the Indiana Toll Road Concession Co. "are not only excessive but are also used to subsidize services and facilities provided by the state that have no functional relationship to the Indiana Toll Road."
"The governor has admitted publicly that the increased tolls on truckers were intended for out-of-state users," Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA, said in a news release. "He seems to think that, in his own words, ‘capturing other people’s money’ is okay. He would be very wrong about that. Truckers are not rolling piggy banks. Indiana’s failure to solve the state’s history of serious financial problems and bad decisions should not fall upon the shoulders of truckers."
The OOIDA is seeking an injunction to stop the toll increase from being implemented further and refunds of excessive tolls paid since October.
The class action lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in Indianapolis. The Indiana Finance Authority, the Indiana Toll Road Concession Co., Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness and Governor Holcomb are listed as defendants.
Holcomb’s press secretary Rachel Hoffmeyer provided the following statement to Inside INdiana Business: "We do not believe there is any issue of constitutionality regarding the transaction. We will vigorously defend the lawsuit."