Lawmakers pass $1.2 billion per-year roads funding bill
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Hoosiers could be paying more at the pump in order to fund the state’s roads plan.
The bill passed the House of Representatives with a 69-29 vote, and passed the Senate with a 39-12 vote on Friday. It raises $1.2 billion annually by 2024 to repair state and local roads.
The Republican-introduced plan includes tax and fee increases that would be transferred to drivers to pay for improvements. That includes raising the fuel tax by 10 cents a gallon and introducing a new $15 vehicle registration fee.
“We’re paying our debts, we have a road bill that is now borrowing a single dime, that is amazingly, really, honestly we can do that. We’re the envy of the country,” said Sen. David Long, President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
Legislative leaders reached an agreement earlier this year, with House Speaker Brian Bosma saying it found the “sweet spot” for both chambers’ priorities.
“The roads bill is perhaps the most important bill that we have addressed in my tenure in the General Assembly,” Bosma added after session concluded.
One provision of the bill allows the governor to seek federal authority to toll, which Republican leaders believe will likely play a role in the future of road funding.
Reaction to the measure started pouring in overnight from both sides of the aisle.
Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City today issued the following statement regarding the entire legislative session but applauded the work accomplished in the roads bill.
“Could we have done more? Of course, but I cannot fault a session that acknowledges the need to improve our infrastructure, and endorses a South Shore improvement project that makes a substantial commitment toward the economic growth of a section of our state – Northwest Indiana – that has long been neglected in Indianapolis.
State Rep. Gregory W. Porter (D-Indianapolis), ranking Democrat on the Indiana House Ways and Means Committee
“While I am sure that many will focus on the things we did for roads and bridges — thanks to tax increases — I will note that nothing has been done to address our growing problem with water infrastructure…storm and sewer systems, and the like. Interest in mass transit in cities like Indianapolis will have to grow without reasonable state support.”
The measure now goes before Governor Eric Holcomb for final approval.