Truckers sue Indiana governor over increased toll road fees

Posted at 1:03 PM, Jan 11, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A group of truck drivers is suing Indiana's governor over a 35 percent fee increase placed on large trucks that use the Indiana Toll Road.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Inc., Utah-based Chutka Trucking LLC, Indiana truck driver Mark Elrod and Ohio-based B.L. Reever Transport Inc. filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging the constitutionality of the fee hike, The Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

The lawsuit alleges the increase is discriminatory and excessive, and that truck drivers won't benefit from the hike because the revenue will be used for projects unrelated to the toll road, which runs across the northern part of the state from the Illinois state line to the Ohio state line.

Gov. Eric Holcomb's office said they disagreed with the lawsuit's allegations.

"We do not believe there is any issue of constitutionality regarding the transaction," Holcomb's spokeswoman Rachel Hoffmeyer said. "We will vigorously defend the lawsuit."

Holcomb in September announced that the toll road operator, Indiana Toll Road Concession Company, would increase tolls in exchange for $1 billion for state infrastructure improvements over the next several years.

The funds would be used to expand broadband access, add biking and hiking trails, improve roadways and attract more direct international flights. An amendment agreement directs the toll road operator to invest an additional $50 million into toll road improvements.

Indiana lawmakers later questioned the governor's tolling decision and the fairness of the move.

The lawsuit is asking the state to stop charging the higher rate on large vehicles, and is also seeking additional information about tolls paid in the last two years. The truck drivers are also seeking monetary damages.