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Is Tolling The Solution To A Long Term Road Funding Plan?

House Republicans will propose a comprehensive, long term road funding measure this session. That bill will likely push the state to study tolling major interstates from border to border.

A car driving across northern Indiana on the state’s Toll Road pays nearly five dollars in tolls.

House Roads Committee Chair, Rep. Ed Soliday, (R-Valparaiso), says tolling Interstates 65 and 70, statewide, at the same rate would generate about $365 million a year.

That’s enough, he says, to widen both interstates to six lanes statewide and cover maintenance costs virtually forever. Still, Soliday notes doing so is not a quick process.

"You’ve got to get federal approval, for one thing, and technology is evolving all the time," says Soliday, "One of things you have to do is get legislative approval, any current road, to toll it."

Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says he thinks tolling works well in some situations, citing the Ohio River Bridges Project between Indiana and Kentucky. But he doesn’t think it works in every scenario.

"Some of these interstates, the process of getting tolls implemented is pretty tough," says Kenley. "So we’ll have to look at that as one of the alternatives but I’ll be surprised if that turns out to be a really strong contributor."

Even if the state began the process of implementing tolling right away, it likely wouldn’t begin for at least five years.

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