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State Roads Task Force Could Recommend Highway Tolls

Highway

Indiana’s roads task force may recommend the state begin tolling interstate highways.

Previous debates over how to pay for Indiana’s infrastructure needs focused on fuel taxes, alternative fuel vehicle levies, and fees based on the number of miles someone drives. The discussion broadened at the second-to-last roads task force meeting. Engineer Steven Davidson recommends Indiana should explore tolling every interstate highway.

“Now that would be implemented over a number of years as the interstate is either expanded, upgraded, rehabilitated,” Davidson says.

Task force co-chair Senator Luke Kenley says tolling is a realistic possibility.

“Certainly tolling would be the only way you’ll get any revenue out of somebody who’s from out of state who didn’t stop to buy gas,” Kenley says.

The task force will meet once more, in December, to issue its recommendation. While the roads task force recommendation doesn’t bind lawmakers, Kenley says he wants it to give the General Assembly all the information needed to create a long-term plan.

“What is the scope of what we think our need for the next, say, 20 years is?" Kenley says. "At least an estimate of that. Secondly, what is the cost on an annual basis for the maintenance of what we have, and what is the cost of putting in the new roads for the next 20 years?”

Kenley says he also wants the recommendation to include potential funding sources. Task force co-chair Representative Tim Brown says he’s not sure how specific the report will get there.

“I don’t know if we’ll get specific on numbers, what the cents, you know, what number of pennies will go up on the gas tax,” Brown says.

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