Toll Road

 

Next Meeting - June 12 - 510 Lincolnway,Suite A - 7pm

Pirates return to the shores of Lake Michigan. Governor plans on pirating (privatization) of the one and only Indiana Toll Road.

 While we fully support user-fee based Toll Roads, it looks to us like the proposed Toll Road Sale will pay for a lot of projects in Central and Southern Indiana. Increases in tolls will put much more truck traffic on U.S 6 and U.S. 30 but no money is allocated to improvementsfor U.S. 6 Under Major Screws, Northern Indiana will bear the brunt to pay for road construction around Indy and South. Just like Morris, Daniels is proposing legalized theft to pay for pet projects. Republicans just don't get it - what pays in Northern Indiana should stay in Northern Indiana.

http://www.in.gov/gov/issues/MM_Maps.pdf
http://www.in.gov/gov/issues/majormoves.html
http://www.in.gov/gov/issues/MM_Introduction.pdf
http://www.in.gov/gov/issues/MM_Fact_Sheets.pdf

http://www.in.gov/ifa/tollroad.html
HB 1008 - Content and affected IC
House Bill Finance Report 1008.pdf
         
HTML version

Toll Road for Sale

A road is a road

Say what you want but it�s still government-owned
By Debbie Harbeson cached from
News-tribune
daharbeson@yahoo.com

When I hear politicians say certain projects are �no-brainers,� I get lots of ideas that I probably shouldn�t put down on paper. That�s why it�s taken some time for me to compile a few thoughts on the toll road issue.

Let�s recap what�s happened so far. The governor announces a plan for future transportation funding. Controversy abounds. Newspapers create polls. Politicians preen. Citizens see business as usual.

The entire plan and controversy rests on leasing a single asset, the Indiana Toll Road, for 75 years. The folks up north who have been paying tolls for 50 years think they own this road, or at least should own it by now. I can see their point because as I understand it, the original plan for the road said that once the bonds were paid, it would convert into a �free� road operated under the same INDOT funds as other roads. But somewhere along the way, as is often the case with government, officials changed the plan. Now several Northern Indiana counties have a revenue-generating toll road that state officials want to use to fund other state road projects. The residents of those counties see money from the lease disbursed throughout the state to fund these projects, including our bridges, yet they are still left paying a toll. No wonder they�re skeptical at what might happen over the next 75 years.

I sympathize with their viewpoint, but Hoosiers up north have to admit they don�t really own the road. Even though they drive the road and pay the tolls which essentially created the asset, the Indiana Finance Authority now owns it. The state gets to take advantage of what�s been created, in the same way government takes advantage of everyone working hard at their jobs by taxing income created.

Let�s be honest about this supposedly new idea: it�s still only typical government redistribution of wealth. It�s Major Moves of money from one group to another. Which is all government can ever really do.

The worst part for our northern neighbors is that politicians will reap the benefits and claim they did something special. That�s why we had the local spat over this issue. When Daniels first threatened the bridges project would not happen if his plan did not pass, it upset many people, especially politicians who felt it was their right to take credit for bringing in bridge funding long before this idea was proposed. Later Daniels recanted and admitted bridge funding was already in the 10 year plan. The whole battle was about what group gets to beat their chest and say they were the ones to secure bridge funding.

If the state is going to create a major movement and spread this money throughout the state, shouldn�t thought be given to maintenance costs and future upgrades? Perhaps every project using these funds should be set up to collect tolls in order to ensure funding for the assets being created. Place a toll on the bridges if using funds from this deal. Maybe we could even get rid of gas taxes and move towards this more direct user fee. Governor Daniels and his followers would have to agree that paying for what you use is a good idea, right? Would anyone who is for the Major Moves project be against this?

OK, I do see at least one glaring problem with this idea. The government will still own the assets, which means users are still susceptible to the future whims of politicians. Who knows what types of no-brainer ideas officials could come up with over the next 75 years.

Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson dreams of a day when enough citizens rise up to create a major movement and finally dump big government. Contact her at Daharbeson@yahoo.com

Topic:  Libertarian Party Position on HB1008 � Major Moves     

Contacts: Dan Drexler, LPIN executive director, 3179201994 or lpinhq@lpin.org

 �Quick Fix� Mitch Leases Out Indiana�s Future

Libertarian Party cites more affordable options

So why is Quick Fix Mitch in such a hurry to shove his 200+ page Major Moves through the legislature?

Could it be that he doesn�t want anyone to read the fine print?

These 200 pages aren�t quickly digested, pageturner prose, but bogged down in legalese. Citizens need time to scrutinize the proposal for highpriced gifts to cronies. If there are no such boobytraps, then why not offer people time to see it for themselves?

Let�s not absolve Indiana Democrats. Their counterproposal involves floating $1.6 billion in bonds �mortgaging our future � just so they can say they did something. If this is such a great idea to get us out of this mess, why didn�t they propose this during their 16 years in the governor�s mansion and when they had a majority in the Indiana House?

Perhaps it�s because bonding is not a great idea, but Democrats had to offer something, ANYTHING, to appear relevant. Don�t they recall the canal funding scams that left Indiana�s financial situation so dire that the state rewrote its constitution?

Libertarians make the following proposals:

  • 1. Indiana doesn�t need a newterrain I69. We can save $600 million in potential spending if we opt for the upgrade route. Even worse, the project is wildly unpopular in the region it supposedly would serve.
  • 2. It�s grotesquely unfair to force one part of the state to subsidize roads for the rest. Toll roads can be fair. A much better solution would be to put optional toll lanes � whether for trucks or for throughtraffic � on highways throughout the state.
  • 3. The 75year lease is way too long. The governor and legislators will be long dead when it expires. Gee, that�s convenient � for them. Libertarians like user fees and privatization when it�s done fairly. Let�s look at a 20year lease or shorter. The twenty years is still worth $3 billion.
  • 4. Instead of turning to foreignowned companies to run our roads and take the profits, Indiana could create a citizenowned company, similar to Citizens Gas & Coke Utility in Indianapolis. It would keep profits in state and give Hoosiers a stake.

                                               END

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
PR060119Toll Road.pdf
 
PR060119 Toll Road.wpd

January 19, 2006
Libertarians Oppose Toll Road Plan
The Libertarian Party of LaPorte County (LPLP) has announced its opposition to Governor Mitch Daniels' plan to sell or lease the Indiana Toll Road. Chairman Doug Barnes said �Libertarians fully support the concept of user-fee based toll roads. Libertarians also support well-thought privatization of government services. While Governor Daniels deserves credit for his outside-the-box thinking, LaPorte County Libertarians do not support the Major Screws plan he is advocating. Just like his handling of the Time Zone issue, the plan is severely flawed. It clearly will hurt LaPorte County and the other Northern Indiana counties that the Indiana Toll Road passes through. People need to wake up and make sure this gets stopped before the damage is done."

Barnes questioned where the money from the Toll Road sale will go. "The Indiana Toll Road is already a �Toll Road' and is paying for itself as well as generating excess revenue to fund projects in Northern Indiana. To us, it looks like the money will flow South to fund road construction projects around Indianapolis and in Southern Indiana. Making Northern Indiana Toll Road users pay for the Governor's pet projects is simply wrong. The governor should look at turning I-465, I-70, and I-74 into privatized toll roads before selling out Northern Indiana. Northern Indiana has to deal with the pollution and noise issues of the Indiana Toll Road every day. Therefore any revenue generated by the toll road should stay in Northern Indiana, not go to Indianapolis or some foreign country."

Vice Chairman Andrew Wolf also questioned why most interest in the Toll Road was coming from foreign companies. " It appears that most of the bidders interested in the Toll Road are foreign-based companies. While Libertarians support global free trade, one must question why Indiana small businesses and individual Hoosier Taxpayers probably cannot participate. The Libertarian Party has some innovative ideas on how they could privatize the Toll Road so that Northern Indiana Taxpayers could benefit by Toll Road privatization instead of getting screwed by it. The excess revenue that the Indiana Toll Road is generating could better be used to reduce Indiana's budget problems or should be applied toward underfunded pension obligations with which will need to be dealt. While Major Screws would generate some short term benefits for companies in Central Indiana, it clearly is not in the best long term interest of Indiana Taxpayers. From the Mayor, to the Governor, to the White House, the Republicans just do not get it. They simply do not understand the difference between free market Capitalism and Cronyism. Over the past five years, they have been as excessive with their wasteful spending as the Democrats were ever."

The Libertarian Party of LaPorte County meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 PM at 510 Lincolnway in LaPorte. Clear thinking potential candidates are always welcome.

For additional information contact:

The Libertarian Party of LaPorte County �
 PO Box 564 � LaPorte, IN 46352-0564 �
 (219) 362-5656

Paid for by the Libertarian Party of LaPorte County - Pages updated on Monday, June 04, 2007

 

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