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Author Topic: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11  (Read 29206 times)

DanTheMan414

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Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« on: September 24, 2014, 03:22:43 PM »

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20140922/NEWS10/140929990/indiana-toll-road-operator-files-chapter-11

The operators of the Indiana Toll Road, ITR Concession Co., have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  For what it's worth, traffic volumes along the Indiana Toll Road have dropped a precipitous 42 percent in the past eight years.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2014, 03:57:05 PM »

want more customers?  increase speed limits.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2014, 04:04:22 PM »

42 percent in the last eight years is a surprising drop.  Is this still fallout from the recession?  I'd be curious if other nearby toll operations -- notably the Ohio Turnpike -- are faced with similiar traffic volume changes.  This can't be limited to Indiana.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2014, 04:06:01 PM »

want more customers?  increase speed limits.

It's already 70 across the entire state, and I have a hard time seeing how increasing it will attract any more drivers.  The cost of the tolls and the condition of the road are the main factors in decreased usage. 

You'd be hard pressed to find anybody who isn't using the road now but would if the speed limit got increased to 75 or 80, especially since you very rarely get pulled over for going 80 as it is.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2014, 04:38:54 PM »

"eliminate" would be the word I'd go for, then. 

I'd pay at least once to go 140.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2014, 04:46:49 PM »

See http://www.nwitimes.com/business/transportation/toll-road-company-to-declare-bankruptcy-monday/article_2af1fdf2-45c1-5e50-bd70-3ad177a866a1.html (discussed in the "Indiana notes" thread). The article puts part of the blame on the recession, but also to the completion of construction on the Dan Ryan Expressway, which had bumped up traffic volumes on the west end of the Toll Road.

I wouldn't be surprised if customer dissatisfaction with the toll road is also a factor.  I think the Toll Road's service plazas went downhill under private operation (both cleanliness of the facilities, and high gas prices at the east end of the road), which makes me more likely to seek alternatives when I'm out that way.  I don't feel the same way about the Ohio Turnpike.

A speed limit increase to 75 or 80 could help (and would be a good thing in any case).  It would not overcome a 42% drop in traffic volume, but could help overcome customer resistance to toll increases and complaints about quality of service.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2014, 05:18:24 PM »

The travel plazas on the ITR, in general, are of the lowest overall quality compared to those on any other toll road i've driven.  Travel Plaza 3 doesn't even have full handicap facilities and no signs advising travelers beforehand that it doesn't.  We've never encountered one like that anywhere else.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2014, 06:34:31 PM »

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20140922/NEWS10/140929990/indiana-toll-road-operator-files-chapter-11

The operators of the Indiana Toll Road, ITR Concession Co., have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  For what it's worth, traffic volumes along the Indiana Toll Road have dropped a precipitous 42 percent in the past eight years.

Gee, I wonder why????????????

Oh yeah, could it be the higher tolls plus the shitty condition of the actual road itself?  If they stopped lining shareholder pockets and actually invested in the road, they might see some improvement.  Having driven the Toll Road yesterday (East Point to I-65), the entire road needs a good repaving as well as ORT gantries at both East Point and Willow Creek.  Better signage might help as well.  It's still the shitty signage that InDOT left the operator with.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2014, 07:11:18 PM »

Another success story for Republican patronage - I mean - privatization.  Not!

It's unfortunate, because years ago the Indiana Toll Road IMO was one of the best toll facilities in the country.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2014, 07:49:02 PM »

Just goes to show that privatization of transportation facilities isn't the panacea that some politicians may think it is.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2014, 08:55:09 PM »

One of the aspects of the Indiana Toll Road I like least are the three toll plazas on the mainline that require you to stop or slow to 5 mph. The plaza in Portage, in particular, frequently has long backups.

There's no technological reason why they couldn't put open-road tolling in place, and there's more than sufficient land area at all three plazas to implement it.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2014, 08:57:52 PM »

I have to drive from Wisconsin to Baltimore in a couple of weeks.  When I made the same trip earlier this year, I took the ITR, and the OH and PA Turnpikes.

This time I am taking I-65, I-70, I-79 and I-68.  26 miles longer but no tolls.  I don't think I am alone in looking at other options.
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Revive 755

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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2014, 09:29:27 PM »

See http://www.nwitimes.com/business/transportation/toll-road-company-to-declare-bankruptcy-monday/article_2af1fdf2-45c1-5e50-bd70-3ad177a866a1.html (discussed in the "Indiana notes" thread). The article puts part of the blame on the recession, but also to the completion of construction on the Dan Ryan Expressway, which had bumped up traffic volumes on the west end of the Toll Road.

I wonder if the high tolls on the Chicago Skyway ($4 if IIRC) might also discourage traffic on the west end that would otherwise use the Toll Road over the Borman. Though I thought the same company controlled both facilities.
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Brandon

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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2014, 10:41:23 PM »

Another success story for Republican patronage - I mean - privatization.  Not!

Democrats have done the same thing, see below.

See http://www.nwitimes.com/business/transportation/toll-road-company-to-declare-bankruptcy-monday/article_2af1fdf2-45c1-5e50-bd70-3ad177a866a1.html (discussed in the "Indiana notes" thread). The article puts part of the blame on the recession, but also to the completion of construction on the Dan Ryan Expressway, which had bumped up traffic volumes on the west end of the Toll Road.

I wonder if the high tolls on the Chicago Skyway ($4 if IIRC) might also discourage traffic on the west end that would otherwise use the Toll Road over the Borman. Though I thought the same company controlled both facilities.

No shit.  They own both the Skyway (sold off by Democrat Rich Daley) and the Toll Road (sold off by Republican Mitch Daniels).  That's a major part of the problem.  The Skyway tolls are $4 + the Toll Road tolls versus the free Borman and Calumet Expressways.

Hence,

Just goes to show that privatization of transportation facilities isn't the panacea that some politicians may think it is.

Exactly.  That and parking meters.  You can privatize garbage collection as you can have several bidders for a contract for 5 years or so, but privatizing a road for 50-99 years is nuts.  The garbage collectors must live up to some sort of service to be in the running for the next contract.  What do the private road operators have to do?  Jack shit, and it shows on the Toll Road.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2014, 10:49:56 PM »

This actually ended up being a pretty good deal for Indiana. They got all that money for Major Moves and they may end up with control of the toll road again.
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PurdueBill

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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2014, 10:55:20 PM »

This actually ended up being a pretty good deal for Indiana. They got all that money for Major Moves and they may end up with control of the toll road again.

Exactly--there was really very little downside for the state, all things considered.  The condition of the road is noticeably worse today than it was 10 years ago though--and as pointed out above, the eastern service plaza gas stations are ripoffs.  I refuse to patronize them and thus don't even stop at those plazas when I otherwise might.  Bad for business and the other vendors at those plazas.
If INDOT takes over the road again, hopefully the road will be improved.  It's rough and shoddy looking right now.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2014, 02:07:14 AM »

I think it's time for the state to take it back.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2014, 01:02:02 PM »

There's no technological reason why they couldn't put open-road tolling in place, and there's more than sufficient land area at all three plazas to implement it.
It does cost money though.  I think ORT is starting to be viewed as an evolutionary dead end with full conversion to AET being cheaper.  The Thruway Authority, for example, has halted their plans to convert all the barriers to ORT and is now converting the downstate barriers to AET.  The upstate barriers will just sit indefinitely, presumably while NYSTA tries to figure out how to fire all the toll collectors without getting the union mad.  And that's an agency that has incentive to get traffic moving.  A private company's only incentive is profit.  Why would they spend the money?  They wouldn't save anything because there are EZ-Pass only lanes now, and it's not likely a significant amount of people are saying "I'd use the road if only it had ORT".
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2014, 01:19:28 PM »

The negative aspect with the state taking it back over is that they'd have to sink money into getting the Toll Road condition back to an acceptable level, not to mention pay for ongoing maintenance.  If they haven't used all their Major Moves money, then they'll have something for the former.  If they have, then what are they going to shift or drop in order to fix the Toll Road?
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2014, 02:15:08 PM »

I do not know if the ITR has a unionized staff when the state leased out the road, but if Indiana resumes control, could they keep on the lower cost non-union staff?  Also, was there not minimum maintenance standards set for the lease?  If so, why were they not enforced?  I wonder how much deferred maintenance there is and how fast existing toll revenue would cover it.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2014, 02:29:10 PM »

There's no technological reason why they couldn't put open-road tolling in place, and there's more than sufficient land area at all three plazas to implement it.
It does cost money though.  I think ORT is starting to be viewed as an evolutionary dead end with full conversion to AET being cheaper.  The Thruway Authority, for example, has halted their plans to convert all the barriers to ORT and is now converting the downstate barriers to AET.  The upstate barriers will just sit indefinitely, presumably while NYSTA tries to figure out how to fire all the toll collectors without getting the union mad.  And that's an agency that has incentive to get traffic moving.  A private company's only incentive is profit.  Why would they spend the money?  They wouldn't save anything because there are EZ-Pass only lanes now, and it's not likely a significant amount of people are saying "I'd use the road if only it had ORT".

What is AET?
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2014, 03:17:21 PM »

All Electronic Tolling.
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2014, 06:44:00 PM »

There's no technological reason why they couldn't put open-road tolling in place, and there's more than sufficient land area at all three plazas to implement it.
It does cost money though.  I think ORT is starting to be viewed as an evolutionary dead end with full conversion to AET being cheaper.  The Thruway Authority, for example, has halted their plans to convert all the barriers to ORT and is now converting the downstate barriers to AET.  The upstate barriers will just sit indefinitely, presumably while NYSTA tries to figure out how to fire all the toll collectors without getting the union mad.  And that's an agency that has incentive to get traffic moving.  A private company's only incentive is profit.  Why would they spend the money?  They wouldn't save anything because there are EZ-Pass only lanes now, and it's not likely a significant amount of people are saying "I'd use the road if only it had ORT".

What is AET?

And where can the average reader find the best explanation of the difference?
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2014, 06:45:00 PM »

If the state takes it back, could the Illiana then be extended up to the I-94?
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Re: Indiana Toll Road Owner Files for Chapter 11
« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2014, 07:18:27 PM »

What is AET?

And where can the average reader find the best explanation of the difference?

Short answer is there are no toll booths, so you can't pay cash.  If you doesn't have the right transponder (for the Indiana Toll Road, any E-ZPass transponder will do), the toll agency has to video your license plate and bill you by mail (or for some toll roads that require a compatible transponder, send you a violation notice assessing a hefty fine; either way, sometimes you can pay the toll online to minimize service charges or head off fines).  Notable examples of AET are the 407 ETR in Toronto, the ICC in Maryland, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the 495 express lanes in Virginia, but there are others in NY, CA, FL, and TX at least.

We've had at least two threads lately, about the issues AET creates for rental car drivers.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 10:34:04 PM by oscar »
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