While state and local governments have many obligations to their citizens, one of the most important ones is improving and maintaining roads.
Indiana, often labeled the “Crossroads of America,” is one of many states across the nation grappling with the significant complexities of road funding.
Over the past decade, the emergence of fuel-efficient vehicles and reduced fuel consumption has dwindled tax revenue set aside for the maintenance and upkeep of roads. A gridlocked Congress in Washington, D.C. has yet to address federal highway funding shortfalls, which has disproportionately affected Hoosiers.
However, the Indiana General Assembly has taken innovative strides to address this challenge.
Major Moves, an extensive infrastructure project made possible by the long-term lease of the Indiana Toll Road, invested $2.6 billion in Indiana roads without incurring any debt or increasing taxes. This landmark deal led Indiana to the cutting edge of infrastructure financing and development.
In conjunction with traditional road funding, Major Moves allowed the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to provide an average of $1 billion per year for road construction from 2005 to 2012.
Since 2013, the General Assembly has budgeted an additional $600 million for major highway expansion projects and $400 million for local roads. Over the next five years, INDOT estimates that $3.2 billion will be spent on bridge and pavement preservation – a 58 percent increase from the prior five years.
In addition to these investments, Governor Mike Pence recently announced his 21st Century Crossroads proposal, which would provide another $1 billion for road projects over the next four years without raising taxes on Hoosiers.
While building and maintaining our roads will always present challenges to policymakers, it’s clear from our past track record and our plans for the future that this issue remains a top priority.
I look forward to working with all stakeholders in the 2016 legislative session and beyond to ensure Indiana’s transportation infrastructure needs are fully funded. Our reputation as the Crossroads of America depends on it.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and ideas concerning these and other topics. My office can be reached at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov
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