Transportation

Sarah Fentem / WBAA

On Sunday afternoon, a handful of pedestrians, steeling themselves against the frigid January temperatures, made their way across the Wabash, their collars turned against the riverfront wind. 

The cold weather made celebrating unreasonable, but the day marked the first weekend pedestrians were able to walk across the Myers Bridge after months of construction delays.

State of Indiana / http://in.gov/

House Republicans revealed more specifics about their road funding proposal as the caucus Thursday unveiled its legislative agenda for the 2016 session, which includes new and increased taxes:

In addition to raising the gas tax to match a rise in inflation – which the House Republican caucus previously revealed would be part of its plan – Speaker Brian Bosma says the proposal would also allow local municipalities with populations of at least 20,000 to implement a wheel tax. 

Currently only counties have that ability. 

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.

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.

Riza Nugraha / https://www.flickr.com/photos/rnugraha/

With millions of people hitting the road this Christmas it’s going to be very busy across the nation’s highways—but drivers will be paying less to travel this year.

Nationally, the average price hovers around $2.00 a gallon for gas, and GasBuddy’s Patrick DeHaan says Indiana falls right in step.

“We have not seen an average pump price in Indianapolis over two dollars a gallon since early November,” DeHaan says.

I-69 Section 4 Now Open For Business

Dec 9, 2015
Courtesy: Office of the Governor

After more than three years and $471 million, all it took was Governor Mike Pence to drive through a ribbon draped across section four of I-69. The new interstate links U.S. 231 to State Road 37 south of Bloomington.

Community leaders, mayors, legislators and transportation officials celebrated the grand opening near Crane. Pence says the interstate is the result of partnerships over the past 11 years.

“One administration with strong support in the legislature, one administration found the money another administration poured the concrete,” he says.

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

Indiana Fourth District U.S. Representative Todd Rokita says the federal highway bill recently passed by Congress provides reliability in funding and eliminates stress for states and contractors as they plan to upgrade and maintain roads.

 

 The bill provides five years of funding with more than $5 billion for Indiana.

 Rokita, a member of the House Transportation Committee, says the federal highway bill is paid for without gimmicks, relying mostly on the gasoline tax, with some alternative revenue streams that include funds from the Federal Reserve. 

Brian Herzog / https://www.flickr.com/photos/herzogbr/

Gasoline prices are once again plummeting across the nation, and in the Hoosier State, the average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline is sitting at $1.79.  

Jet fuel prices have been dropping as well. However, airline fares haven’t seen as drastic of a price drop.

About 30 percent of airlines’ operating costs are fuel. With the large dip in fuel prices, you might expect to see a dip in ticket prices, but that is not where the money has gone.

Riza Nugraha / https://www.flickr.com/photos/rnugraha/

Gasoline prices are down again, and with increasing oil reserves, an industry analyst says it appears they will stay that way.

GasBuddy's Patrick DeHaan says that the United States continues to set records with a massive oil surplus.

"We now stand at a 100 million-barrel surplus compared to just a year ago, and if you can wrap your mind around this, total U,S, petroleum inventories now are over 2 billion barrels," he says. "That's only the third time in history that's happened."

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.

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