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INDOT Joins Governor In Fight Against Transportation Bill

I-90 toll road

Photo: Doug Kerr (Flickr)

Interstate 90 is part of Indiana's toll road that was leased out to a private company to increase transportation funds.

Governor Mitch Daniels met with members of Congress in Washington D-C this week to express his opposition to legislation that would cut some federal transportation funding to Indiana. The state Department of Transportation says it’s joining in that fight.

A highway bill that has passed the U.S. Senate would change the formula used to calculate how much each state gets in federal transportation dollars. That change would remove privatized highways from the formula, which would cost Indiana $42 million a year.

INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield says the specific impact of that loss hasn’t been determined.

“Well, what we’re talking about are capital funds,” he says. “Those are used for new projects, not ones that we would necessarily do in-house.”

The backers of the highway bill say Indiana shouldn’t be getting federal tax dollars for privatized roads when the state has already been paid for the road by the private company. But Wingfield says Indiana’s federal funding is limited in other ways.

“Every time you purchase a gallon of gas at the pump, you’re paying 18 cents in federal taxes,” he says. “Indiana does not see all of that money back – it goes to other states.  Yet, Indiana is the crossroads of America.”

Wingfield says because of the high volume of traffic on Indiana’s roads, it needs every source of funding open to it, including public-private partnerships.

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