On the (toll) road again

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

Here’s a question for you truckers out there: Remember the Indiana Toll Road and the 75-year lease that was signed that was going to make the state millions of dollars in transportation funding? Remember how that money was gone just a few short years into that lease? Remember how tolls for trucks tripled in that state? Remember how the company that ran the toll road went bankrupt in spite of all that? Remember all of the “razzberries” we gave to Indiana over the years because of it?

Sure you do. We all do. It’s too bad the Indiana General Assembly and Gov. Eric Holcomb seem to have forgotten about it. They’ve recently passed a bill that would – among other things – allow the governor to pursue tolling certain portions of interstates with little, if any, oversight from the general assembly.

What could possibly go wrong?

In case your memory is as short as the Indiana government’s, I direct your eyes to two paragraphs above this one. The answer, of course, is plenty. Plenty could go wrong and plenty did go wrong the last time they tried this idea. So what makes them think it’s a good idea to try it again? Temporary amnesia? Temporary insanity? I’d say it’s more likely a case of temporary blindness caused by all of the dollar signs flashing before their eyes.

Add those toll-road dollar signs to the ones flashing from all of the taxes they intend to raise on fuel (diesel prices will jump by 31 cents when all is said and done) and it’s clear the state of Indiana plans to milk truckers for every cent they can get.

We get that the state is in dire need of transportation dollars. Most states are these days, it seems. But going back to that same well – the one that not only ran dry but then collapsed in on itself the last time you used it – doesn’t make any sense. It won’t make any dollars either. LL