The Indiana Toll Road Concession Company officially took over operation of Indiana’s northern Toll Road this morning, following the transfer of $3.8 billion to Indiana coffers. It took an hour-and-a-half and eight wire transfers to move the money into two state accounts.
Governor Mitch Daniels predicts the road-building that the lease will pay for will eventually make supporters of everyone. He noted that Thursday is the 50th anniversary of the bill signing that launched the Interstate Highway System. Daniels says that bill was controversial in its time, but history now regards it as important. Indiana Budget Director Chuck Schalliol says Indiana is making more money on the toll road deal because the state is ahead of the curve.
Indiana Democrats are marking today’s formal signing of the Toll Road lease by reminding voters of their continued opposition to the deal. All but two of the 65 Democrats in the legislature voted against the Major Moves legislation that made the lease possible.
Portage Senator Karen Tallian says she still believes that the state could reap big profits from the toll road without the involvement of private investors. South Bend Senator John Broden maintains that the state was too quick to dismiss the possibility of matching a private company’s expected profits.
Broden notes the state will collect only about $3.5 billion after the rebate it’s giving the new operating company. The rebate is meant to offset a freeze in tolls for the first few years of the contract.