Sen. Hershman not a fan of the tolling option for road funding

FILE - In this photo dated May 30, 2007, vehicles pay tolls as they enter the Indiana Toll Road near Angola, Ind. (AP File Photo/Joe Raymond)

INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) — Out of all the proposals to fund roads in Indiana, Sen. Brandt Hershman said tolling is his least favorite.

Currently, Indiana lawmakers are trying to move along a bill that looks at a variety of ways to improve the state’s infrastructure. Hershman said although lawmakers haven’t taken anything off the table just yet, the idea of toll roads concerns him.

Hershman understands gasoline tax revenue is declining and will continue to decline because of fuel economy standards. However, while toll roads offer a stable source of revenue, it could end up diverting traffic off the interstate – causing expensive damage to local roadways.

There are discussions about creating and tolling an additional lane on Interstate 65, making it a six-lane highway from the Illinois border down to the southern Indiana border. He said that idea is a little better.

“You could make it a truck lane and toll it so there are a variety of different options there, which would give the general public the option of whether to pay the toll and drive on the new lane or stay on the existing free [lanes],” Hershman said.

He said road funding discussions have been productive, so far. He said talks took place during a hearing last week.

“[We] had almost 30 people testify” Hershman said. “We took 3½ hours worth of testimony and we want to synthesize all those various opinions into a package that rebuilds and improves our roads not only for safety, but also for economic development.”

Hershman anticipates they will have an amendment on the road funding bill ready by next Tuesday. News 18 will be sure to bring you the latest on air and online at WLFI.com.