The toll for a car going the length of the Indiana Toll Road will rise to $10 on July 1, and tolls on the Northwest Indiana barrier system will go up 10 cents at five toll booths as the road's private operator implements its annual increase.
Tolls for all classes of vehicles ranging from motorcycles to the largest semitrucks will go up an average of 2.67 percent, although there are slight variances depending on where motorists get on and off, according to ITR Concession Co. spokeswoman Amber Kettring.
The annual increases are done according to ITR Concession's 2006 lease agreement for the Toll Road, when its parent companies paid the state of Indiana $3.8 billion for the right to operate the road and collect tolls for 75 years.
"It protects users from one-time toll increases," Kettring said. "There's no surprises; users know it's going to be this way each year."
Under the lease agreement with the state, ITR Concession Co. can raise tolls each July 1 to the greater of 2 percent, the increase in the consumer price index or the increase in U.S. Gross Domestic Product. This year the highest of those was GDP.
Motorists in cars and other two-axle vehicles using E-ZPass transponders will continue to pay the same toll they have since 2006. For a car running the length of the Toll Road the E-ZPass discounted toll is $4.65. The discount is paid for by the state. It ends in 2016.
The current toll for a car without a transponder running the length of the road is $9.70. The toll for a typical 5-axle semitrailer going the same distance will go up to $39.70 on July 1 from its current $38.70. At one barrier booth, Cline Avenue, the toll for cars will remain at $1.10 with no increase.
The toll for cars taking the privately operated Chicago Skyway, which is taken by many barrier system users for the commute into Chicago, now stands at $4.
Toll revenues are used for the operation and maintenance of the Indiana Toll Road, Kettring said. ITR Concession has several major construction projects underway including the complete reconstruction of two Lake Station ramps between the Toll Road and Borman Expressway.
Tolls had not been raised on the Indiana Toll Road for more than 20 years when the state boosted the tolls in early 2006, just before the lease with ITR Concession went into effect. That increase shot the toll for a car running the length of the road to $8 from $4.65.
Gov. Mitch Daniels also struck a deal with legislators that kept tolls for cars with E-ZPass transponders at the pre-increase rates until 2016, so that commuters would not be hit so hard in the first 10 years of the lease.