INDOT considers more tolls to help fund road gap

News nwitimes.com September 16, 2005
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As Indiana struggle for ways to fund highway construction projects in light of an expected $2.1 billion funding shortfall, Gov. Mitch Daniels recently said more tolling may be the answer, nwitimes.com reported.

During a stop in Merrillville, Ind., Daniels said his administration and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) are considering Interstate tolls as an untapped resource for funding new road construction projects.

According to the NWI Times, this idea is all a part of a plan by the INDOT to reprioritize the state’s 10-year road construction list, which INDOT officials have said previously would have gone up $2.1 billion over budget. As part of the process of drafting a 10-year schedule, INDOT is scoring projects based on a new system of priorities and also as vowed to seek additional funding sources to build highway proposals that currently have no funding under the budget.

When INDOT presents the draft of its 10-year list later this month, Daniels said his administration also wants to be able to propose strategies for funding projects on—and beyond—the list. “We’re going to be proposing some changes and looking at additional funding to go much deeper into that list,” Daniels said.

“Tolling may be playing an ever-larger role, and it is very likely we will propose tolls for some new projects and modernization of existing tolls in the state.”

Daniels lauded INDOT efforts so far to begin drafting a 10-yeaer road construction plan that is more monetarily realistic, the newspaper reported.

Under past administrations, road construction priorities were set in back-room deals, and projects were included in the state’s plan even if funding was nowhere to be found, Daniels said.

“What you really had was a con game, and it’s time to stop that,” he said.

Under the new system, INDOT has sought help in scoring state projects from legislators, and the final scoring is based on real need, determined in part by road engineers, said Daniels.

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