The recent 35% increase in truck only tolls on roadways in Indiana has led to some unintended consequences – truckers are now avoiding the toll roads altogether and are instead using back roads not meant for large commercial vehicles.
The toll increase went into effect on October 5th of this year as part of a $1 billion infrastructure plan by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, who claims that the 35% truck-only toll increase is fair because of the damage large trucks do to roadways, despite the fact that much of the money raised by the tolls will be used for improving the state’s railroads, airports, ship ports, walking and biking trails, and even broadband internet – none of which have to do with the roadways truckers are now paying heavily to use.
Now that the increase has been in effect for several weeks, state officials who previously ignored naysayers who advised that the toll hike would deter truckers entirely are noticing a decrease in toll road users and an increase in commercial truck’s usage of back roads such as US Highway 30, US Highway 6, and US Highway 331, reported ABC 57.
“I think that with the regular increases that we’ve had here and then seeing a 35 percent increase again I think you’ll find a lot of traffic is going to leave those [toll] lanes,” explained Chief Strategy Officer of Holver Lines, Carl Svendsen.
“They may make the decision to go on a different highway and that highway may not be designed to handle truck traffic in significant volumes,” he continued – and that’s exactly what is happening.
Citizens living off of these backroad highways have been noticing the traffic increase and are urging officials to do more than just post “no through trucks signs.”
“This is a main through fair for the shortcut from Bremen down to US30 so everybody takes this versus 331 a lot to save them several miles,” said Patrick Walters, who has been living on Fir Road off of US 30 for 25 years.
“[No through trucks] is posted on both ends of Fir Road that we don’t allow trucks, but they’re still using them [the road],” Walters said.
“Have them [police] start issuing tickets to people that are speeding, also the truck traffic,” he suggested.
Because of all this, the state will vote on an ordinance that may allow for clearer enforcement regarding the use of county roads in November but until then, trucking companies warn that drivers will likely continue to avoid the toll roads and that the cost of shipping goods through Indiana may spike if drivers and their companies are forced into paying tolls.