State, INDOT Exploring How To Fund 2016 Road Projects
Legislators and Gov. Pence have said they expect an "infrastructure session" next year. But they're still working out how to pay for those projects.
INDOT officials and legislators have warned for years that increased fuel efficiency is reducing the gas tax revenue that has traditionally paid for road maintenance.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says he doesn't think increasing the tax is the way to make up for it -- he notes electric vehicles don't pay fuel tax at all, and says a funding solution should involve contributions from all vehicles.
Kenley's also skeptical of a local option fuel tax. He believes the legislature is in the best position to ensure equitable funding statewide.
“Roads and streets and those kind of studies can be reviewed by the state legislature on a pretty regular basis and a pretty structured format, and just handing out more tax opportunities to locals...I’m not sure we want to break it down that far,” Kenley says.
The Association of Indiana Counties isn't backing a specific proposal – spokesman Ryan Hoff says they just want local governments to get more money to work with.
“There’s multiple, multiple ways of doing it,” Hoff says. “What is palpable to each state is different than what’s palpable to every elected official is different; having an understanding of what each option looks like in our state would be a good idea before we move forward.”
Kenley notes the state increased local road and street funding by $100 million a year in 2013.
INDOT has been reviewing funding options used in other states.