Following the Indiana Department of Transportation’s release of the Tolling Feasibility Study, the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates issued the following statement, which can be attributed to spokesperson Stephanie Kane:
“INDOT’s Tolling Feasibility Study presents a misleading and unrealistic outlook for Indiana’s potential use of tolls. The study puts the cart before the horse by making estimates that assume speculative federal approvals for tolling programs and touts inflated revenues projections that exclude hundreds of millions of dollars in costs for construction, collection, enforcement and insurance of the toll gantries. The economic impacts calculated for a potential statewide tolling program fails to account for the loss of business and opportunity costs of higher transportation costs, and it ignores the cost of traffic diversion around communities where tolls would be located. The study’s assumption that up to 22% of traffic will divert means more crashes, congestion on local roads, higher maintenance costs, delayed first responders and other harmful consequences for these communities. Overall the study paints an unrealistically rosy picture of tolls and what revenues they could bring to Indiana, ultimately increasing the risks of new toll roads in Indiana.
Tolling studies overpromise and underperform nearly always. Who can forget the Indiana Toll Road declaring bankruptcy only a few years ago? And yet, the Indiana Governor and General Assembly will be making the same mistake if they use this study to pursue a statewide tolling network. The Legislature already raised the gas tax by 10 cents per gallon and the diesel fuel tax by 20 cents per gallon last Session, and now the state has produced a study that will help them justify the pursuit of further taxing the driving public via toll taxes.
Tolls are inefficient at collecting revenue, ineffective at improving traffic, and hurt the communities around them. ATFI urges Indiana’s Governor and General Assembly to reject the possibility of tolling altogether. If Indiana’s policymakers push forward on their tolling plan, the biggest losers will be their constituents – the citizens and businesses of Indiana.
To learn more about AFTI and join the Alliance please visit www.tollfreeinterstates.com. In addition to joining ATFI you can stay connected by following the Alliance on Twitter at @No2Tolls and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TollFreeInterstates.