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Toll Road Operator Given More Time To Find Buyer

Jimmy Emerson, DVM

The company which operates the Indiana Toll Road has exited Chapter 11, but will continue to look for a buyer for the lease.

A Chicago bankruptcy judge gave final approval to I-T-R Concession Company‘s prepackaged bankruptcy. The reorganization gives the company 10 months to find a buyer. The Spanish-Australian consortium is eight years into a 75-year lease of the road.

The company would restructure its debt or line up new financing if it can‘t sell the lease.

South Bend Democrat David Niezgodski‘s House district includes a stretch of the road. He says he‘s relieved a bankruptcy judge didn‘t tinker with the terms of the state‘s lease, but he‘s still concerned about the condition of the road.

"Now we've got winter coming and I don't even know if there's salt in the barns to take care of the ice that is eventually going to be falling on the roads when we get hazardous weather," says Niezgodski.

In a letter to U-S Senator Joe Donnelly last week, the Indiana Finance Authority, which oversees the lease, said the road itself is being adequately maintained, but echoed concerns about deterioriating and unsanitary conditions at the travel plazas along the road. I-T-R plans to hire a new contractor to renovate the plazas.

The I-F-A says in a statement the state will "remain fully engaged" as I-T-R searches for a buyer. Director Kendra York notes the state has the right to approve any new operator.

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