Friday, November 3, 2017

Tolling of Indiana Interstates Moves Forward with Study

Unlike some of my fellow conservatives, I did not loudly protest the substantial increase in Indiana's gas tax this Spring.  Instead I was more worried about the tolling authority the legislature gave the Governor in the bill, a provision which got little publicity.   But when the issue came up, our Republican members of the legislature assured us that any tolls were way down the road and, besides, they are only a last resort type of thing.  Not to worry.  Besides we have a Republican Governor.  What could go wrong?

Indiana legislators had barely left town when Governor Holcomb's Department of Transportation began putting the wheels in motion to toll Indiana
Governor Eric Holcomb
interstates.  The Associated Press reports on the first step, a study which gleefully announces how much more Indiana can soak Hoosier drivers:

Indiana could see between $39 billion and $53 billion in toll revenue from 2021 to 2050, according to study of a proposed statewide tolling program. 
The feasibility study conducted by the state Department of Transportation estimated how much money would be generated from tolls on six interstates: 64, 65, 69, 70, 74 and 94, The Journal Gazette reported . Potential toll rates ranged from 4 cents per mile for automobiles to 19 cents per mile for heavy trucks. 
An estimated 9 percent to 22 percent of drivers would choose to travel on local roads instead of paying the tolls, the report said.
A law approved this year requires the Department of Transportation to perform feasibility studies and seek approval from the Federal Highway Administration for charging tolls on the interstate routes. Lawmakers also raised the state gas tax by 10 cents to raise funds for road maintenance.
Proponents of tolls argue they are just a user fee, that only the people using the roads are paying.  I would point out the gas tax already is a user fee.  Those who are driving on the roads are the ones directly paying the gas taxes.  Nonetheless, I have never supported the notion that user fees should be the only mechanism for funding roads.  Everyone benefits from good roads,whether they are actually driving on them.
Tolls will hit working class Hoosiers particularly hard.  If the Republican super majority gives us a record gas tax increase and toll roads it is time to reconsider whether we should re-elect those tax and spend Republicans.


IndyJeff said...

Spot On. Not everyone will agree, but if you must, just hike the gas tax again. I especially like the provision to study public-private partnerships. With all that expected cash, I think the State could manage a toll road and keep the cash. How much did the State get from the current Toll Road in 2016 or 2017? Also, with a gas tax, there is no privatizing necessary. If you must collect a tax, at least 100% of the funding back to the residents.

Flogger said...

Your subject of taxes is rather timely given the expose of the Paradise Papers. The Paradise Papers reveal a complex shell game among Billionaires, the Rich and Famous and Multi-National Corporations to hide their earnings to avoid taxes. All this is aided and abetted by elected politicians.

Bernie Sanders has said, “The offshore tax dodging uncovered by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in the ‘Paradise Papers’ raise serious questions about the integrity of our tax system and the ability of the top one percent to rig it in order to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else,” the independent Senator from Vermont says in the letter.

“I am writing today to urge the Budget Committee to hold a hearing on this issue and to conduct a thorough bi-partisan investigation on how much offshore tax evasion has contributed to our $20 trillion national debt.”

We witness the micro effects of this shell game here in Marion County. The Colts and Pacers have stadiums built for them from tax dollars but the taxes are "laundered" through the CIB. Both political parties (Republicrats) join hands in a circle and become enablers of Crony-Capitalism. State wide some companies receive tax abatement's, etc., but the vast majority of businesses do not.

True Republican said...

Holcomb definitely is no friend to the taxpayers

True Republican said...

Holcomb is simply a taller version of Mitch Daniels. Both have inferiority complexes, both are lousy governors with vastly superior Lieutenant Governor’s, and they are both off their rockers.