An organization representing truck and heavy commercial vehicle drivers is taking legal action against the state of Indiana over the recent increase in toll road fees.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has filed a lawsuit against the Indiana Finance Authority, the Indiana Toll Road Concession Company, the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation and Governor Eric Holcomb.
The class action complaint, filed in Federal District Court in Indianapolis, challenges the 35 percent increase in tolls imposed on drivers of heavy vehicles traveling the Indiana Toll Road that was implemented on October 5, 2018. The increase was intended to raise $1 billion for Indiana’s “Next Level Connections Program.”
OOIDA says the measure is burdensome, discriminatory and violates the Commerce Clause and the Privileges and immunities clause of the U.S. Constitution. In its complaint, the OODIA says the increase in tolls for heavier trucks is excessive when compared to the operating costs of the toll road and the revenue collected is paying for programs unrelated to the road.
It also says since the toll increases impact out of state heavier trucks and other commercial so much more than in-state traffic that it violates what is known as the Dormant Commerce Clause which prohibits states from taking actions which tend to impede, discriminate or substantially burdens interstate commerce,
“The governor has admitted publicly that the increased tolls on truckers were intended for out-of-state users,” said Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA. “He seems to think that, in his own words, ‘capturing other people’s money’ is okay. He would be very wrong about that. Truckers are not rolling piggy banks.”
“Indiana’s failure to solve the state’s history of serious financial problems and bad decisions should not fall upon the shoulders of truckers,” said Spencer.
OOIDA seeks an injunction to stop the further imposition of the toll increase along with refunds of excessive tolls paid since October 2018.