Proposed bill would give tax credit to those who travel the Toll Road
Imagine traveling the Indiana Toll Road and getting paid for it. That's what a proposed Senate bill is asking for; any non-business driver who uses the toll road would get reimbursed through a tax credit.
The tax credit would be worth up to $300 or half of the cost spent on tolls.
"It's a benefit to those who use the Toll Road," says Republican Senator Joe Zakas, who authored the bill.
But it may not be a benefit to the state. Early estimates show the tax credits could cost between $7.4 and $10.3 million annually. The estimate is based on a study that reviews practices on the toll road.
Zakas says he believes the bill is a "fair way to share the cost of the interstate."
Indiana received $3.8 billion dollars when it leased the toll road to a private company in 2006. The money was used for former Governor Mitch Daniels' "Major Moves" program which upgraded roads like U.S. 31 and paid counties along the Toll Road.
The lease also set the limit on toll rates; however, those rates will expire in July of 2016.
"We're on the cusp of increased tolls next year and as a way to more equitably share the cost across the state," says Senator Zakas.
The bill specifies that "non-business drivers" could qualify for this tax credit; upon further clarification, Senator Zakas said this applies to any two-axle vehicle that is not used for commercial use.
Several travelers said they would continue taking the Toll Road if that meant more money in their pocket.
"If the state is willing to give it back, why not," says driver William Shire.
Senator Zakas tried to push two bills similar to bill 389 in years past. He said with the potential for toll rate increases in 2016, he hopes the bill will gain interest.