Governor Eric Holcomb has ceremonially signed two bills into law aimed at supporting Hoosier businesses and boosting state and local economies. The bills allow certain communities to create funds for regional infrastructure projects and match certain education programs with employer needs.
The office of Representative Mike Braun (R-63), who sponsored both bills, says Senate Enrolled Act 128 allows counties and municipalities participating in a regional development authority to create funds for infrastructure work, including highway or bridge repair, rail lines, airports, and public transportation.
Braun says the law allows RDAs to apply for federal FASTLANE grants for road and bridge projects and to enter into an agreement with the Indiana Department of Transportation to contribute local matching funds for infrastructure projects.
"In addition to the resources allocated to locals in our road funding plan, this law gives regional areas additional tools to help fund their specific infrastructure projects," said Braun. "By providing new ways for local governments and businesses to have skin in the game, we can encourage them to prioritize projects that have a greater local economic impact, while also working to improve the quality of roads and bridges in their areas."
The measure comes in addition to the $1.2 billion infrastructure funding package passed by the Indiana General Assembly this year.
The second bill signed by Holcomb, Senate Enrolled Act 198, aligns career and technical education programs with current and future employer needs. It also establishes Workforce Ready Grants to cover remaining tuition and fees for students pursuing certifications.
"Although Indiana’s unemployment rate is near a record low and well below the national average, we currently have a shortage of highly-trained and skilled workers to fill the positions being created," said Braun. "In order to continue positioning Hoosier workers and job creators for success, it’s critical we better align education and training with employer needs. This new law provides funding to Hoosiers pursuing certification in certain fields, while also working to streamline the state’s workforce development programs."
Braun says the bill also requires the measurement of the state’s return-on-investment for its workforce-related programs.