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The Journal Gazette

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Tuesday, September 04, 2018 2:30 pm

Indiana Toll Road rates going up

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Toll Road rates will jump significantly and the state will receive $1 billion to put into trails, broadband, roads and flights over the next three years.

But state officials are keeping mum on what money the private company running the road will reap from the new arrangement.

"Today we're sending a big message to the world that Indiana is making a huge investment in our quality of life and for those who aspire to join us," Gov. Eric Holcomb said when announcing his Next Level Connections program Tuesday.

The majority of the new money - about $600 million - will go to accelerating the completion of the I-69 section between Martinsville and Indianapolis from 2027 to 2024.

The rest will be spent as follows:

 $100 million will be used to offer grants to providers to bring affordable high-speed fiber optic broadband access to unserved or underserved areas of the state.

 $90 million will fund a grant program for local and regional trails, with an emphasis on connecting cities, towns and counties with existing trails.

 $190 million for improvements to U.S. 20 and U.S. 30 and new interchanges on U.S. 31.

 $20 million to establish additional international nonstop flights to and from Indianapolis.

In addition, INDOT is separately agreeing to add millions for general roadside maintenance such as mowing and litter collection.

Under the current lease, the Indiana Toll Road Concession Company is allowed to raise toll rates the greater of 2 percent or inflation annually. The amendment to the original deal will increase the toll rate for vehicles with three or more axles - not passenger cars - by 35 percent starting Oct. 5.

That means a Class 3 vehicle – a dump truck, for instance – would now pay $22.04 from border-to-border – up from $16.33. A four-axle – such as a pickup truck with a trailer – would pay $45.96 now, up from $34.04. A five-axle vehicle – most commonly a semi-tractor trailer – would jump from $44.46 to $60.02.

State officials declined to say what the Indiana Toll Road Concession Co. would receive in new revenue. An email seeking comment from the company was not immediately returned.

The deal still has to be finalized by the Indiana Finance Authority at its Sept. 20 meeting.

Negotiations started about a year ago when the ITRCC approached the state about raising toll rates to be more competitive with other toll roads.

According to the governor's office, even after the one-time increase the rate per mile will remain lower than nearly all other similar roads across the country.

In Class 5, Indiana rates would be higher than Ohio, New York and Florida toll roads but lower than Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina toll roads.