If you've ever driven the nearly 50-mile stretch of Interstate 94 in Indiana between Chicago and New Buffalo, you know that it's one of the most congested highways in the nation. Get ready to soon pay a toll for the privilege of driving the road.

I-94 is one of several stretches of interstate the Hoosier state is studying for adding a toll. Two other interstate highways the crisscross Indiana, I-65 from Gary to Louisville and I-70 from Richmond to Terre Haute could also be tolled. The state is also considering levying tolls for driving around Indianapolis.

"INDOT anticipates pursuing a broad interstate bridge tolling program," the agency said in announcing the RFP.
The work will follow on a study under way by the engineering firm HDR, which will provide a traffic and revenue analysis that will, among other things, consider the economic impact of tolling as well as its economic feasibility and the optimal toll rates. The study will also contemplate ways to mitigate the impact of tolling on commuters and other local and in-state drivers.

Creation of a strategic plan is the next step in the process, as mandated by the state legislature in the sweeping transportation legislation signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb at the end of this year's General Assembly.

One commentor on the Times Facebook page put it:

So on top of the endless construction and traffic backups, they now want us to pay to sit in traffic? Congrats IN you’re on your way to becoming IL.

The plan currently under study by the State of Indiana would seem to hit the Northwest Indiana region hardest in terms of tolled roads. The Indiana Toll Road already runs through Gary, East Chicago and Hammond. With I-94 and I-65 under study for tolls, there would be no non-toll options for driving around the region.

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