Indiana House Democrats this week unveiled their proposal to solve some of the state’s road maintenance issues. The Minority Leader says it goes further than the governor’s plan by providing help to local communities.
The House Democrats’ plan would divert sales tax revenues on gasoline and special fuels to road maintenance. Minority Leader Scott Pelath says that would have generated $525 million this year and, under the Democrats’ proposal, would have been split between state and local roads, with 53 percent to the state and 47 percent to locals.
“We need to begin the era where everything you pay the pump that goes to the state of Indiana goes back to paying to fix, maintain or create a road or a bridge," Pelath says.
Governor Pence’s plan uses some money from the state’s budget reserves and new bonding to pay for road maintenance, but provides nothing for local roads. Pelath says the Democrats’ proposal avoids bonding…but he reluctantly acknowledges that the plan, in its first year, would require the state to shift more than half a billion out of its reserves.
“We do have those surplus dollars there when we have immediate safety and economic development demands," he says.
Pence spokesman Matt Lloyd calls the Democrats’ plan irresponsible, arguing it would require budget cuts to areas like education and Medicaid.