road funding

Indiana closed its fiscal year – which ended on June 30th – with a budget surplus of $42 million.

The state also closed with a reserve of $1.77 billion. That’s about $400 million less than the year before.

Office of Management and Budget Director Micah Vincent says the decline was caused by the state’s new long-term road funding plan.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA

Gov. Eric Holcomb rolled out a regionally-specific portion of the state’s five-year infrastructure plan Thursday during a stop in West Lafayette. The governor and INDOT officials say interstates and bridges will be hit hardest with orange barrels.

INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness says one of the big priorities is adding lanes to I-65 and I-70 – he says he’d like to see a minimum of three lanes run each direction.

McGuinness says overpasses are also targeted in the plan.

Gov. Holcomb Talks Five-Year Road Plan

Jul 13, 2017

Gov. Eric Holcomb announces the priorities for the next five years of road and bridge repairs. (Photo by Drew Daudelin)

Gov. Eric Holcomb talked Thursday about the first five years of a 20-year initiative to improve the state’s roads and bridges.

The plan would result in 10,000 miles of existing highways being resurfaced and about 1,300 bridges being repaired or replaced.

Holcomb says the initiative, called Next Level Roads, outlines about $4.7 billion in investments over the next five years.

About 45 tax and fee increases take effect in Indiana July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

Most of the tax and fee hikes the legislature passed this year are pretty routine, says John Ketzenberger, president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute. The exceptions are tied to road funding – chiefly, a 10 cent-per-gallon gas tax hike.

“Gosh,” says Ketzenberger, “It’d been almost 20 years since we raised the fuel taxes, so it is unusual, and we talked about it for a couple of years before we did it.”

UPS announced plans this week to open a $260 million shipping hub in Plainfield by 2019 – one of the first big logistics investments to come after the state passed its road funding plan.

The repairs and upgrades that $1 billion-a-year funding package will fund with tax and fee increases are a big deal for companies that rely on roads.

Road construction season is underway, and after state lawmakers allocated more money for local roads, House Speaker Brian Bosma says communities should see a big season.

“We want them to start smelling asphalt in July,” Bosma said after unveiling the road funding package in April.

Indiana’s local communities will receive at least $200 million for roads and bridges in the state’s new infrastructure funding package.

A who’s-who of Midwest business leaders met in Indianapolis Thursday to talk about their stake in fixing updating the nation’s aging transportation system.

Many say Indiana’s plans for road repairs should stand as a national, multi-modal example.

Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper, who helped host the roundtable discussion, says the state and national economies rely on more than ships and barges. Changes at one part of the system, he says, have huge ripple effects on the rest.

Holcomb Signs Budget, Road Funding Bills

Apr 27, 2017

Gov. Eric Holcomb says lawmakers “over-delivered” on an ambitious agenda this session. And veterans groups call the spending bill Holcomb signed into law the “most veteran-friendly budget” in state history.

Holcomb applauded lawmakers for “leadership and teamwork,” praising them for finishing on-budget and a week ahead of schedule in the 2017 session.

$1.2 Billion Road Funding Package Sent To Governor

Apr 24, 2017

 

The state legislature has sent Gov. Eric Holcomb a $1.2 billion-a-year road funding package, fulfilling a session-long pledge from all four legislative caucuses.

The road funding package generates money in several ways, including gasoline tax hikes and BMV fees, providing $340 million per year to local roads and $870 million for the state.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane criticized the larger scope of the bill, raising gasoline taxes while cutting taxes for casinos in the state in a separate bill.

The legislative focus of this year’s session wasn’t a mystery. Lawmakers already spent more than a year debating road funding. And so it wasn’t a surprise when Gov. Eric Holcomb told the General Assembly this in the first weeks of session.

“I will work with you to establish a plan that invests in the new projects for the future that ensures Indiana will remain The Crossroads of America,” Holcomb said.

But it was not the only big goal – or debate – this session.

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