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Pence Unveils Billion-Dollar Road Funding Plan

Barbara Brosher

Governor Mike Pence unveiled a road funding proposal Tuesday that would spend one billion dollars over the next four years to preserve existing roads and bridges. Most of the money requires legislative approval and not a single new dollar would be available before July of 2016.

Pence’s plan would set aside $241 million from the state’s budget reserves next year, call for $450 million from the next two state budgets, and generate the rest from new bonds, refinancing existing bonds and drawing interest from a trust fund.  Pence says the bridge collapse that shut down I-65 for a month had no bearing on the creation of the plan and that his proposal is not because Indiana’s roads are in bad condition.

“While they’re above the national average, we think this is going to be the right investment to continue to improve our infrastructure," he says.

Democrats have charged for months that Indiana’s roads are crumbling, and Democratic leadership calls the new proposal “sheepish,” “the bare minimum,” and the “equivalent of filling potholes.”  Pence calls that political nonsense.

“I had somebody stop me the other day,"' he says. "I was out and about in the state and they said, ‘I about can’t go anywhere without seeing orange cones, Governor.’  Hoosiers know we’re investing a tremendous amount in infrastructure and that we have for many years.”

Pence’s proposal doesn’t allocate a single dollar for local roads.  The governor says he anticipates local funding being part of the discussion in the near future.  

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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