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County Leaders Want More Money For Local Road Projects

Matthew Fern

County officials and construction companies are joining forces to lobby legislators for more money for local road maintenance.

The last state budget carved out a 65-million-dollar slice of sales taxes for local roads.

But Indiana Association of County Commissioners executive director Stephanie Yager says there‘s a half-billion-dollar gap between maintenance needs and what counties can afford.

She says her home county of Brown County illustrates how local governments are pushing against the limits of their financing options.

"Brown County has the wheel tax. They dedicate some income tax to roads. They have the CUM Bridge," says Yager. "But even with all the different local levels of effort that they have, the gas tax still doesn't cover the needs that they have."

The Senate Appropriations Committee is in the midst of hearings on House Republicans’ budget, which sets aside 400-million dollars for state highway projects.

County officials visited the statehouse Tuesday to urge legislators to earmark a portion of that money for local roads.

Both state and local road funding have been hamstrung by increased fuel efficiency, which reduces the amount drivers pay in gas taxes.

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