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INDOT Official: State's Roads And Bridges Need An Additional $4 Billion

Brian Hefele

The Indiana Department of Transportation Wednesday provided the State Budget Committee with a sobering look at the state’s future infrastructure maintenance costs. 

Indiana’s bridges were built to last 75 years -- and half are at least 50 years old. 

INDOT Commissioner Karl Browning says about 7-percent are in what he calls “poor condition” – not that they’re unsafe, just that it will cost a lot to fix them. 

At current funding levels, that percentage will rise to 12.5-percent in ten years.  In order to keep the percentage of bridges in poor condition at about eight percent, Browning says funding needs to increase about $60 million a year for the next ten years. 

And he says an ideal level is less than 3-percent of bridges in poor condition.

“And in order to achieve that, that’s nearly $100 million dollars more a year than we have available to spend today for the next 20 years,” Browning says.

Roads are in a similar state: Browning says to reach an ideal maintenance level, funding would need to increase about 170 million dollars a year over 20 years. 

The INDOT Commissioner says a report due at the end of next summer could help provide solutions.

“We will have a model system that will say, ‘Here are ways to raise revenue that are specific and targeted to the kinds of problems that we need to solve,’” he says.

Browning says he does not recommend raising the gas tax.

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.