Pence Unveils Billion-Dollar Road Funding Plan
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.