Some Toll Road workers could get big bonuses

The bankrupt company that runs the Indiana Toll Road wants to hand out some three quarters of a million dollars in employee pay raises.

Attorneys for ITR Concession Company contend that the raises are needed to keep key people on the payroll during the lengthy process of selling the rights to run the roadway.

ITR concession filed for bankruptcy last September and it will be at least next September before a sale is complete.

From the guy who mans the toll booth to the executive who occupies the corporate headquarters in Chicago, the Indiana Toll Road employs a total of 283 workers.

However, a mere fraction of the workforce—just 38—are in line to pocket more pay under the proposed “Valued Employee Program” now pending in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago.

The plan targets “critical” people in engineering, accounting, information technology, and business administration

According to court documents, any turnover would “disrupt work processes and potentially undermine the sale process.”

Buying loyalty doesn’t come cheap. The single largest individual raise would be $94,588: the smallest would be $7,142, while the average worker raise would be $19,675.

“It’s just one more flag that’s been raised that pretty much proves that life is not business as usual on the toll road,” said Ind. Rep. David Niezgodski, (D) South Bend.

Earlier this year, Rep. Niezgodski raised another red flag about what he saw as the poor condition of the Toll Road travel plazas in general—and the restrooms in particular.
“Let’s hear about how are these service plazas going to be modernized, let’s make sure that the right things are in place to make sure that the road improvements are continuing. Let’s hear more to this package than just all of the sudden, we want to give a raise package.

NewsCenter 16 gave several individuals an opportunity to comment on the proposal, but most had never heard of it before.

The proposed Valued Employee program will be the subject of a bankruptcy court hearing on January 15th in Chicago.

The raises would not go to company “insiders.” As defined by law, that means employees who report directly to the board of directors, or those who set policy.