Two bills aiming to increase funding for infrastructure improvements throughout the state have moved on to the next phase in the Indiana General Assembly. While both bills have the same goal, they would get there in different ways.
Senate Bill 333, authored by Senators Carlin Yoder (R-12), Brandt Hershman (R-7) and Patricia Miller (R-32), unanimously passed the Senate. It would transfer 2016 excess reserves to the State Highway Fund for road and bridge repairs and distribute $50 million from the Next Generation Trust Fund in 2019, two years early.
"This is a crucial part of our plan to improve Indiana’s roads and transportation infrastructure," said Yoder. "We know that this bill will have long-term benefits that will help improve the lives of Hoosiers across the state."
SB 333 has the backing of Governor Mike Pence as it implements part of Pence’s 21st Century Crossroads Plan, which would provide $1 billion in new state road funding over the next four years without raising taxes. The bill now moves to the Indiana House for consideration.
The House passed House Bill 1001, which House Republicans say will generate the $1.3 to $1.5 billion the state needs for its infrastructure repairs. The bill includes an increase in the state’s gas tax by four cents per gallon, seven cents per gallon on diesel, and increase the state’s cigarette tax by $1.
"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.
Senator Carlin Yoder (R-12), who authored Senate Bill 333, says it would provide hundreds of millions of dollars for roads in the coming years.
Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-25) calls SB 333 a “worthwhile step,” but wishes it provided more funding for local road projects.