Pence-supported Road Funding Bills Get First Hearing

Jan 12, 2016

The governor's short-term solutions are at odds with the likes of House Speaker Brian Bosma, who wants a long-range plan enacted.
Credit Robert Carr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/myconstructionphotos/1525875787/

Tuesday was a good first day in the legislature for two pieces of road funding legislation supported by Governor Mike Pence.

Governor Pence’s road funding plan uses $241 million from the state’s budget reserves to immediately fund state road and bridge maintenance. 

It also provides $240 million through bonding -- which some lawmakers balk at. 

Their concern is paying off bonds over 20 years for road repairs that only last about seven years. 

But Office of Management and Budget director Micah Vincent says the bonds wouldn’t be used for short-term fixes.

“Major build rebuilds, going down to the gravel for pavement – and those projects have a useful life that is 20 to 25 years or longer,” Vincent says.

But Dennis Faulkenberg, a lobbyist for road construction companies, says his concern isn’t what projects bonds will be used for.  He says the Pence plan doesn’t identify a specific funding source to repay the bonds.

“Never in Indiana have we had a bonding program for highways that there wasn’t a new revenue source enacted and dedicated to that bond repayment,” he says.

A Senate committee unanimously advanced Pence’s proposal, while another Senate committee unanimously approved a bill, supported by Pence, that would immediately provide more than $400 million to local communities for road projects.