Indiana trucking group supports I-69 as toll road

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The Indiana Motor Truck Association reportedly has endorsed Gov. Mitch Daniels’ plan to build Interstate 69 as a toll road after the administration agreed to phase in toll hikes on the existing Indiana Toll Road in northern Indiana. “We think it’s going to be great for Indiana,” Kenny Cragen, president of the Indiana Motor Truck Association, told the Evansville Business Journal.

Daniels proposed his Major Moves package to help fund road construction: As part of it, the administration announced it would hike tolls on the Indiana Toll Road, which have not been increased since 1985. Major Moves also would allow the state to contract with a private company to foot part of the bill to build the Evansville-to-Indianapolis section of Interstate 69 in exchange for a contract to run it as a toll road.

For a truck traveling the entire stretch of the Indiana Toll Road, which runs from Ohio to Illinois in northern Indiana, the tolls are increasing roughly 120 percent: For a semi, the cost would increase from $14.55 to $32. The jump made some communities along the highway concerned that the immediate higher costs would force trucks onto local roads, but under the change adopted Tuesday, Jan. 3, the toll hike will be phased in over four years to allow trucking companies time to adjust. Cragen said that because of the change, his organization’s executive committee voted to endorse the entire Major Moves plan.

The tolls for passenger vehicles traveling the entire Indiana portion of the toll road will increase from $4.65 to $8, roughly 72 percent, and will not be phased in.