Gov. Pence Endorses Local Road Funding Legislation
By Travis Thayer
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Governor Mike Pence is endorsing legislation filed today that would immediately provide funding to local governments for infrastructure projects.
State Senator Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) introduced Senate Bill 67 today, which would provide $418 million to local governments to help improve local roads and bridges across the state.
“I strongly support Senator Hershman’s plan to help communities fund infrastructure improvements, and I commend his leadership,” said Governor Pence.
Indiana Democrats have been pushing for increased infrastructure funding this year, arguing that Indiana’s reputation as the “Crossroads of America” is at stake. They have proposed an extra $2 billion in highway funding.
This local road funding legislation complements the 21st Century Crossroads plan Pence outlined in October, which will make $1 billion in new road funding available over the next four years. Pence and Hershman have worked closely together to bring forward new infrastructure funding without raising taxes.
“Our teams have been working closely on this plan to provide funding at the local level without raising taxes. I will be including this initiative as part of my legislative agenda for the upcoming session and look forward to its passage along with the 21st Century Crossroads plan that Senator Yoder will be authoring,” said Pence.
Under SB 67, $171.6 million would go to counties, and $246.8 million would go to cities and towns. The bill requires that localities direct a minimum of 75 percent of the funds toward local road and bridge needs or a rainy day fund. The remaining 25 percent could be used at the localities’ discretion.
Senate Bill 67 could be passed during the 2016 legislative session. However, Indiana lawmakers are not required to meet in 2016. The only legislation they are required to pass by law is the biennial budget bill, and that was taken care of during the 2015 session.
Still, there are plenty of major issues that require the state legislature’s attention sooner than later: such as road funding, ISTEP+ testing, and adding LGBT protections to the state’s civil rights law.
The legislative session is scheduled to convene on Tuesday, January 5.