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Road Funding To Include Tolling Study

The bill proposing tax hikes to fund improvements to the state’s aging infrastructure also includes a provision for possibly adding tolls. The bill orders the Indiana Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of tolls on Interstates 65 and 70.

State law requires legislative approval of any tolls, and federal law bans tolls on roads that used to be free. But Congress granted three states an exception to the toll ban. House Roads and Transportation Chairman Ed Soliday says the government told Indiana lawmakers to apply for the toll road exceptions since the approved states haven’t moved forward on tolling projects.

“The federal government told us, ‘go ahead and apply because we’re going to tell them, if they don’t do something, use it or lose it,’” Soliday said.

The current road funding debate stems from declining gas tax collections, Soliday said, a decline which is expected to accelerate when new fuel efficiency standards are fully implemented in nine years.

“The whole concept of looking at tolling is that gasoline tax starts to off in its yield, so there’s going to have to be something to take its place.”

Soliday says tolls would raise a million dollars a day for state revenues.

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