A trucking organization has released a blistering rebuke of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s plan to raise tolls on commercial trucks using the Indiana Toll Road.
Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operated Independent Drivers Association, calls the governor’s move “a betrayal.”
“Not only is the amount of the increase excessive, but to single trucks out? How do you rationalize that,” says Spencer.
His organization has sent a letter to Holcomb opposing the idea announced a few weeks ago in his plan to raise $1 billion for infrastructure improvements. It would increase fees for large trucks on the Indiana Toll Road, the state’s longest pay-for-use highway. That plan would increase tolling fees five-axle vehicles by 35 percent.
In his letter, Spencer calls the governor’s claim that trucks cause “10,000 times” more damage to roads than cars “absurd and unsubstantiated.” He says the typical five-axel truck is already charged more than $10,000 per year in state and federal user fees, in addition to any tolls truckers pay. This additional fee he believes will hurt small trucking fleets where profit margins are already slim.
“They have no means to offset those increased costs, they just end up eating them,” says Spencer.
He says the increase could cause truckers to seek alternative routes, where he claims crashes are more likely to happen.
“Sound policy would encourage people to be on that road, but the economic policy that this is all about basically discourages trucks especially from using these roads, but also people who drive cars,” says Spencer.
He doesn’t think the governor has adequately proven his case for raising tolls just on large trucks.
“There needs to be some transparency, there needs to be an opportunity for public input, and there needs to some accountability,” says Spencer.