The Future Of Tolling: No More Tollbooths?
Indianapolis, Indiana – Last week Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced he would not be pursuing additional tolling across his state (for now), but perhaps the most interesting part of the announcement is what no one seems to be talking about.
Holcomb was required by a 2017 law (House enrolled Act 1002) to have Indiana DOT (INDOT) provide a strategic tolling plan to state lawmakers. The plan reports Indiana could collect approximately $15 billion for road improvements between 2024 and 2045 by imposing tolls of up to seven cents per mile for cars and up to 38 cents per mile for semitrailers on Interstates 65, 70 and 94.
However, what caught our attention was buried deeper in the plan. If Indiana ever adds new toll roads, it appears safe to say the state won’t be adding tollbooths to go with them. That’s right. No tollbooths.
The INDOT study of tolls on I-65, 70 and the Borman Expressway portion of I-94 envisions “open-road tolling.” This is essentially where cameras and electronic sensors lock in on either your license plate or a chip on your windshield to identify and bill you.
INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness says building toll roads with this functionality would take about 5 years, but says he believes this is the future of tolling. Motorists will no longer be faced with long, slow lines every few miles just to pay up.
Will technology like this make the public more agreeable to tolls? Only time will tell, but Governor Holcomb said in his statement last week that he believes INDOT’s study will be the “how-to manual” for governors across the country to implement more tolling in their states.
For now though, truckers are still facing the recent 35% toll-hike Governor Holcomb approved earlier this year along the 157-mile stretch on I-90 with the same old tollbooths.
Featured image shared courtesy of The Times / Jonathan Miano.