Indiana Toll Road. Photo: Indiana Toll Road Facebook page.

Indiana Toll Road. Photo: Indiana Toll Road Facebook page.

The private operator of the Indiana Toll Road has filed for bankruptcy reorganization, following a deal several years ago in which a consortium of Spanish and Australian investors leased the route from the state of Indiana.

ITR Concession Co. says it either will restructure $6 billion in debt, in which senior creditors will swap what they are owed for a more than 95% share in a reorganized company, or the company will sell its lease at auction with proceeds going to pay creditors, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In a release, ITR said its creditors have agreed to the plan. During this time, ITR said operations of the Indiana Toll Road will continue as normal

The more than 150-mile route was leased in 2006 for 75 years in exchange for paying Indiana $3.8 billion dollars, but since that time It has seen traffic decline more than 40% along the route, due in part to higher tolls. The cost nearly tripled for a typical five-axle truck to take the entire route, according to Landlinemag.com in a story just before the bankruptcy filing.

Some in trucking were originally against the leasing of the Indiana Toll Road over concerns it would lead to higher tolls.

A report in Businessweek notes that this is not the first toll road operator to seek creditor protection. Operators of the South Bay Expressway, a 10-mile toll road near San Diego, and the 16-mile Southern Connector in Greenville County, South Carolina, each filed for bankruptcy in 2010 after experiencing low traffic. 

The Indiana Finance Authority, which approved the lease of the Indiana Toll Road, said it is monitoring the situation and said it would have to approve any change in the toll road’s operations.

Related:

Pennsylvania Turnpike, Indiana Toll Road Fees Increasing Indiana Tolls: Bad Policy or Quick Cash? (2006)

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