The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) inches closer to tolling several Interstate corridors with the June 2 release of a Request for Information (RFI) related to potential future plans for tolling of the I-65, I-70, and I-94 corridors: Request for Information Interstate Tolling Project Delivery.
INDOT is planning to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) to prepare environmental studies and project development documentation for the above corridors (the RFP refers to the following corridors: 1) I-65 from I-90 to I-465, 2) I-65 from I-465 to the Ohio River, 3) I-70 from the Illinois State line to I-465, 4) I-70 from I-465 to the Ohio State line, 5) I-65 and I-70 within I- 465, and 6) I-94 from the Illinois State line to the Michigan State line). The purpose of the RFI is to seek information that will shape the release of the RFP, in particular in the following areas:
- Asset inventory and management in these corridors
- Sequence of deployment of tolling among these corridors
- NEPA documentation type and analytical approach for these corridors, and for the improvements identified above
- Contracting and procurement approaches
- Public outreach and information strategy
- Any other topics the responder believes are relevant to this RFI
It is clear that Indiana intends to move forward with tolling the I-65, I-70, and I-94 corridors. It isn’t entirely clear if the intention is to toll only new expansion lanes, or existing lanes as well.
It will also be interesting to see the responses to questions about “contracting and procurement approaches”, in particular to see which public-private partnership models are being encouraged.
The most interesting part of the RFI, though, is the draft proposed work plan for an agreement that INDOT already has with engineering giant HDR, Inc. to meet the requirements of Indiana House Bill 1002 (now Public Law 218) to evaluate the feasibility of tolling Indiana’s Interstates. This work plan includes the following tasks:
- Project Management and Project Meetings
- Traffic and Revenue Analysis for 5 Corridors — to conduct a traffic and revenue analysis and model (including a risk component) for the five Interstate corridors: I-64, I-69, I-74, I-94, and I-465. Note that I-69 is included in the study. Along with traffic and revenue, the task will attempt to estimate diversion rates (i.e., rates at which vehicles use other roads to avoid tolls — often a concern to local communities whose roads bear the burden of division). The study will also attempt to estimate the toll revenue from non-Indiana residents vs. residents.
- Risk Analysis for I-65 and I-70 — to expand a 2015 INDOT analysis to more explicitly quantify and model uncertainty
- Statewide Tolling Survey — to assess the public’s willingness to pay tolls. HDR is proposing here, because of the short deadline for the project, to perform a Willingness to Pay (WTP) study, which tests a participant’s sensitivity to various price points. Interesting note:
“An approach that HDR has found to be successful in similar WTP studies is to tell survey takers that the purpose of the survey is to explore interest in improving travel times and safety on major highways. The concept of paying toll is not introduced until the end of survey so as not to bias the experiments as people generally have negative attitudes towards toll. “
- Assess Economic Impact — the study will include quantitative and qualitative studies of the potential impact of tolling on Indiana’s economy, including impacts both of increased investment in infrastructure resulting from tolls as well as impacts on Indiana households.
- Write Report — the final report is due by October 31, 2017.
The INDOT page for open RFIs is here: INDOT RFI Page.