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Lawmakers Rally Support for Indiana Toll Road Lease

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Elected officials from Illinois and Indiana gathered today to raise support for leasing the Indiana Toll Road to a private consortium.

The 274-mile roadway through northern Indiana is considered a transportation hub for freight trucks.

The Indiana legislature is expected to decide this week whether to approve the deal.

Gary Mayor Scott King says the state needs the money, and opponents have offered no viable alternatives.

“What is the other plan that is going to create and generate this revenue, not on the backs of the taxpayers?” King asks. “So that these necessary, critical investments -- airports, lakefronts, roads, rails -- how else are we going to do it?”

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was at the event. Daley leased Chicago’s East Side skyway toll for $1.8 billion to the same consortium in line for the Indiana Toll Road lease.

The plan is expected to have enough votes to pass, which means all tolls for the next 75 years would go to the Australian-Spanish group that would purchase the lease for nearly $4 billion.

But Democratic Indiana lawmaker Patrick Bauer says the lease could take away too much control and revenue.

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