AASHTO Journal, 11 March 2016
On the last day of the Indiana General Assembly’s session, lawmakers approved a funding package that puts hundreds of millions of dollars more into local and state roads by tapping a state surplus, redirecting some fuel tax receipts and drawing on a reserve account for local option taxes.
The March 10 passage followed a late deal struck by legislative leaders and Gov. Mike Pence in the legislature’s waning days.
Although some news reports said it contained much less funding for state road projects than Pence had sought, the governor said the total package would put more than $1 billion into state and local roadway infrastructure, most of that in the next two years.
Pence’s office on March 11 released a breakdown saying the legislation would make available $328 million for “preservation of state roads and bridges over the next two years.”
For local roads, the package in the next two years makes available $430 million of the Local Options Income Taxes reserve account for local agencies to spend on roads, and provides $186 million in state reserves for a local roads and bridge matching account.
And over the next four years, the governor’s analysis shows, it would provide $277 million by redirecting 1.5 cents of the gasoline use tax to local roads to be phased in over two years, with $100 million available each year going forward.
Further, the package will allow local authorities to raise up to $273 million in new revenue for their roads.
The measure also takes into account that the funding it provides is meant to bridge the gap to a longer-term funding fix. It also created the “Funding Indiana’s Roads for a Strong and Safer Tomorrow (FIRSST) Task Force” to develop a long-term funding plan for highways and bridges.