As state transportation officials continue to highlight matching grants for transportation projects, local leaders are touting the importance of construction and maintenance work in their communities. Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb and top brass from the Indiana Department of Transportation have so far detailed $47 million in support for central Indiana, which covers more than 100 county, town and city governments. Millions more in funding for projects in southern and northern Indiana will be unveiled at Community Crossings matching grant announcements Tuesday and Wednesday.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Avon Town Manager Tom Klein said the investment will help cover roads that have needed attention for a long time. In his town’s case, Klein says the money will essentially cover re-pavement expenses for almost all of the town’s worst-rated roads. He says a $1 million infusion from the state will make a difference, because "we would never be able to get to those roads with our small budget of $400,000 a year." The funding will also help the town "get ahead of the game" with sealing and repairing other roads and boosting larger, new construction projects in the pipeline.
Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said road maintenance can be a sign of overall community well-being. "It gets down to the basics of government and that is economic development and growing our tax bases and one of the largest assets that government is in charge, our largest asset, really, is our streets and our roads." Cook says businesses considering expansions or locations in a particular community take a look at the shape of roadways. "(If) I see things being taken care of that I can see, it tells me how they take care of things that I cannot see." He says municipalities need good infrastructure to attract families and businesses.
The state announced in March it would be awarding between $80 million and $100 million through the Community Crossings matching funding program. Earlier this month, the state announced it had received applications for nearly 1,600 projects in hundreds of Hoosier communities.