Marking a major victory for the truckstop and travel plaza community, the Indiana state General Assembly removed from its comprehensive transportation legislation a provision that would have put the state on track to toll I-70 in the near future. After vocal opposition from local businesses and commuters, as well as the Alliance for Toll Free Interstates of which NATSO is a founding member, the General Assembly substantially scaled back this provision, ultimately making it more difficult to authorize tolling projects within the state.
Federal law prohibits the tolling of existing interstates except for three slots under the federal Interstate Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program. Federal law requires each of those states seeking a slot in this tolling program to pass a law affirmatively permitting tolling before they can toll an existing Interstate.
Indiana has long been interested in participating in this program to toll I-70. The original version of H.B. 1002 contained explicit permission for the state to toll. However, amid strong opposition from NATSO, ATFI and other like-minded businesses and Indiana residents, the final legislation does not include this permission, but rather directs the Indiana Department of Transportation to further study tolling before the legislature reaches a final decision on whether tolling is in the best interest of the state.
This requirement that the General Assembly still must review tolling means that there is greater opportunity for public debate and public pushback against tolls in Indiana.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has until July 1 to submit a tolling waiver request to the federal Department of Transportation in order to participate in the tolling program.
The grassroots initiative www.NoTollsIndiana.com, which organized Indiana residents and advocates against the tolling provisions in HB 1002, received 3,791 petition signatures from Hoosiers opposing the bill, and more than 1,000 emails were sent to the HB 1002 Conference Committee members who negotiated the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
In the more than 1,000 emails to the Conference Committee, Indiana residents and businesses told the Senators and Representatives not to give up their authority and refrain from passing the buck to the Governor.
As 2017 progresses, NATSO and ATFI expect to see more states attempt to add tolls. NATSO will continue to closely monitor these efforts and alert NATSO members to any new tolling efforts.
Subscribe to Updates
NATSO provides a breadth of information created to strengthen travel plazas’ ability to meet the needs of the travelling public in an age of disruption. This includes knowledge filled blog posts, articles and publications. If you would like to receive a digest of blog post and articles directly in your inbox, please provide your name, email and the frequency of the updates you want to receive the email digest.