The Senate Appropriations Committee is hearing testimony on a major bill involving road and bridge improvements. House Bill 1001 calls for a hike in gas and cigarette taxes, as well as state surplus funds to generate $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion for what authors say is a long-term plan to maintain infrastructure at the state level.
Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson says the department’s figures are calculated from Governor Mike Pence’s 21st Century Crossroads Plan, which accounts for $1 billion in funding. She said, even at the funding level proposed by Pence and coupled with recent spending announcements, the projects INDOT has lined up could be complete. Hendrickson says INDOT could meet its road and bridge condition targets by 2023 using the metrics presented in this bill. The goal is for fewer than 3 percent of bridges to be rated "poor" and 95 percent of pavement to be rated "fair" or better.
The measure cleared the House last week by a 61-36 margin. It includes a four cent-per-gallon gas tax increase , seven cent-per-gallon hike on diesel and a $1 state cigarette tax increase.
"House Republicans worked diligently to develop and pass a comprehensive road funding package, which spurs economic growth and is fiscally responsible," said House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-88). "The plan addresses immediate state and local funding needs while providing for long-term sustainability. We are encouraged by the bill’s support."
HB 1001 now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson says, even using a lower estimate than what the bill provides, the state should have the required funding to hit its targets.