INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Eric Holcomb has directed INDOT to remove I-465 from future studies on tolling after a state lawmaker announced his plans to write legislation blocking the state from charging tolls on the city's beltway interstate.
“It’s dishonest. It’s outrageous. I mean it’s absolutely outrageous,” said Indiana State Senator Mike Delph, R-Carmel, after he said INDOT told him tolling on I-465 was currently being studied.
Delph tweeted Wednesday that he would propose legislation next session to make tolling on I-465 illegal.
“I will fight tolling on I-465 with every breath that I have,” Delph said. “It’s plain wrong and it should not be considered at all.”
Delph said he had an amendment written up last spring when lawmakers were discussing the long-term road funding bill that would exclude I-465 from tolling considerations, but said he didn’t introduce it because the senate leadership told him it would be a waste of time, calling tolling on I-465 a “non-issue.”
“To now have the Indiana Department of Transportation publically state that, ‘yes we are looking at tolling I-465,’ is just remarkable and it’s very sad,” Delph said.
According to an INDOT spokesman, tolling on I-465 was never off the table and that they are currently studying the feasibility of tolling on all of Indiana's highways.
“Being at the early stage that we are it’s really important to capture comprehensive data,” INDOT Spokesman Scott Manning said. “So we’re looking at all of the major Interstate routes to determine what the feasibility is and what potentially would make sense.”
Governor Holcomb chimed in on Friday in an attempt to avoid the confusion.
He said midway through the 2017 legislative session he did not consider tolling I-465 or similar loops around cities a viable option.
“In a March 30th interview, I said regarding tolling, ‘I don’t see I-465 or loops around our cities as viable options.’ For me, it was never a consideration. So to ensure there is no confusion, I have directed INDOT officials to remove the I-465 corridor from any further study.”
INDOT plans to release a feasibility study next week on tolling that contractors have been working on and the agency is currently in the process of hiring a firm to study the implementation of tolling on Indiana roadways.
That report is due by the end of 2018.