INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Statehouse Republican leaders are praising their plan to raise taxes on motorists in order to pay for road infrastructure improvements across Indiana.
Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate leader David Long beamed with pride during a Thursday news conference on the compromise agreement reached this week.
The plan, which still must go before the full House and Senate for votes, would raise fuel taxes by 10 cents a gallon while charging new registration fees that will cost most drivers $15.
Hybrid and electric car drivers will face $50 and $150 fees, respectively. Commercial drivers will see a 25% increase in their fees.
That will eventually pump an average yearly amount of about $1.2 billion into improvements for the state's crumbling roads and bridges.
Most of the money will go to state roads, leaving the local governments with less than they had hoped for.
The bill also would authorize the governor to seek federal approval to implement tolling on interstate highways, something several groups vehemently opposed.
"A tax increase on autopilot that will be adjusted for inflation and then we have the possibility of tolling on top of all that, which could be even more impactful than this bill implements immediately," said Justin Stevens, the state director for Americans for Prosperity.
Gov. Eric Holcomb issued the following statement:
"I congratulate state lawmakers—particularly House Speaker Bosma, Senate President Pro Tem Long, state Reps. Soliday and Brown, and state Sens. Kenley and Crider—for their plan that will strengthen our global reputation as the “Crossroads of America.” This plan provides the tools necessary to maintain what we have, finish what we started, and invest in the future."
Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar issued the following statement:
“We laud the compromise reached by House and Senate fiscal leaders that will fund Indiana’s infrastructure needs for the foreseeable future. We are very pleased to see such a substantial long-term funding plan to address the many maintenance and new construction needs that exist throughout our state. This legislation was the Indiana Chamber’s top priority for this session.
“This thoughtful approach also makes sure to fund both state and local road projects – which we know is very important for Hoosier companies – and that everyone pays their fair share through a user-fee based model.
“This agreement has been the product of several years of research and discussion and we congratulate everyone involved. We strongly encourage the members of the General Assembly to support this legislation with their vote tomorrow.”