road funding

Lawmakers To Debate Length Of Road Funding Plan

Jan 4, 2016
Brian Hefele / https://www.flickr.com/photos/brhefele/6973020335

The looming legislative debate over road funding will involve not just how to pay for it, but whether to seek a short-term or long-term solution.

Governor Pence has proposed $1 billion in road funding over four years.

But House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) has called for a long-term funding fix.

House Republicans have proposed a hike in the gas tax to make up for 13 years of inflation since the last increase.

MilitaryHealth / https://www.flickr.com/photos/militaryhealth

Cancer prevention advocates have long called for Indiana to raise its cigarette tax – something the state hasn’t done in eight years.  But this session, it’s not health concerns but a road funding priority that’s finally generating momentum for the controversial move.

Washington State Department of Transporation / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/

House Republicans will propose this coming session a comprehensive, long-term road funding measure.  That bill will likely push the state to study tolling major interstates from border to border.  However, some lawmakers are skeptical about that proposal’s potential.

Purdue University

Many of us have been stopped for speeding by a police officer. It’s uncomfortable and it’s tough to know what to say or do.

But when you’re a public figure like Mitch Daniels, there’s an added layer of scrutiny.

Purdue’s President was reminded of that in the wake of a traffic stop on campus last month, and then reminded again when editorials suggested he should have asked for a ticket, rather than the warning he was given. On this edition of WBAA’s Monthly Conversation With Mitch Daniels, we’ll talk about that stop.

Robert Carr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/myconstructionphotos/1525875787/

Communities across Indiana would receive more than $400 million for road and bridge projects under a plan unveiled Thursday by State Senator Brandt Hershman. 

The Republican from Buck Creek wants to give back to municipalities and counties some of the local income tax dollars the state holds in reserve.

Typically, local governments only get those dollars if the reserve balance exceeds 50 percent of annual collections.

The balance is currently around 25 percent. But Hershman says he wants to give locals that money, about $418 million, for roads.

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/

Republican legislative leaders won't rule out tax increases as a potential solutions for Indiana's road funding issues. 

House Speaker Brian Bosma says the GOP caucus' plan relies on three principles: that it's responsible, comprehensive and sustainable. And he says the House Republican bill would be, in his words, "loaded with options."

"People worried about voting for a potential gas increases in the future?" he asks. "Maybe it needs to happen. Registration fee on electric vehicles? Perhaps they need to pay toward our roads as well."

Lee Coursey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/leeco/

Governor Mike Pence says he welcomes House Democrats to the road funding conversation but believes their $2 billion infrastructure proposal could bankrupt the state.  

Pence still doesn’t have an answer for how local communities fit into his own roads plan.

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/

Indiana House Democrats this week unveiled their proposal to solve some of the state’s road maintenance issues.  The Minority Leader says it goes further than the governor’s plan by providing help to local communities.

The House Democrats’ plan would divert sales tax revenues on gasoline and special fuels to road maintenance.  Minority Leader Scott Pelath says that would have generated $525 million this year and, under the Democrats’ proposal, would have been split between state and local roads, with 53 percent to the state and 47 percent to locals.

Indiana House GOP

Governor Pence plans to roll out a legislative agenda for the upcoming session sometime next month.

Pence has already announced plans to seek a billion-dollar commitment for road and bridge maintenance, and he says he'll have economic proposals beyond that.

Pence notes he’s also announced plans to ask for a safety net for teachers and schools as ISTEP transitions to new state standards.

“I’m having conversations already with members of the General Assembly about how we make sure that the new test results don’t impact teacher pay or bonuses,” Pence says.

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