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Upstate public-private highway facing debt payment

A state agency is monitoring the Indiana Toll Road operator's finances, as it works to make an upcoming debt payment. 

Indiana Toll Road Oversight Board director James McGoff tells The Times of Munster that the private operator is trying to negotiate more favorable terms with its lenders.

The Spanish-Australian investor group paid the state $3.8 billion in 2006 for a 75-year lease of the northern Indiana highway, but its toll revenue hasn't met expectations.

McGoff says the lease agreement allows the state to potentially take back the 157-mile highway, if the consortium defaults on its debt payments.

The state is considering a similar public-private partnership for the next stretch of the I-69 project between Bloomington and Martinsville. It would expand a 21-mile stretch of State Highway 37 and bring it up to interstate standards.