September 21, 2008
State to repay operator for waived Toll Road fees
Munster » Indiana will reimburse the private operator of the Indiana Toll Road for the state's decision to waive fees along the tollway temporarily to alleviate congestion during floods that closed Northwest Indiana freeways for days.
Jane Jankowski, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mitch Daniels, said Friday that the state will reimburse Macquarie-Cintra, a Spanish and Australian consortium, for its lost revenue. She said she doesn't know how much it will cost the state to make good on the lost tolls.
The state's decision upsets Margie Stewart, a Toll Road employee and Teamsters Union representative. "Why should the taxpayers pay for this? The company is making plenty of money," Stewart said Friday. "It was a disaster here. They could have helped."
Jankowski said the funds will come from the $3.8 billion the state received from the foreign consortium for the 75-year lease agreement to operate the Toll Road.
While I am somewhat sure this is in the fine print of the lease agreement somewhere I wish the Star would have dug into that contract to point it out.
I have to ask a couple of questions though:
1. Where does tax payer bailout of private corporations end?
2. Should not the consortium have a "Loss of Use" coverage on their insurance?
3. If the state declares a state of emergency somewhere in Indiana that causes a private business to shut down would the state then reimburse that business for lost revenue?
4. I think we need to know much more about this issue and how exactly the cost is calculated.