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Lawmakers To Debate Length Of Road Funding Plan

Brian Hefele

The looming legislative debate over road funding will involve not just how to pay for it, but whether to seek a short-term or long-term solution.

Governor Pence has proposed $1 billion in road funding over four years.

But House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) has called for a long-term funding fix.

House Republicans have proposed a hike in the gas tax to make up for 13 years of inflation since the last increase.

House Roads and Transportation Chairman Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) argues adjusting the gas tax for inflation shouldn't be viewed as a tax increase.

"It's not a trick, it's not magic to say you're not raising taxes when you adjust the dollars to current dollar buying power," Soliday says. "The gas tax is 18 cents, but it buys about what 11 cents would buy in 2002."

Pence has declined to comment directly on possible gas or cigarette tax increases, but emphasizes his own plan doesn't raise taxes.

It does include a $250 million in bonds, a proposal which drew a lukewarm response from Republican legislators.

Republicans have also floated the possibility of higher cigarette taxes.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) said at a legislative preview conference last month the state needs a short-term infusion of infrastructure funding this year, but says the long-term discussion should wait for next year's budget session.

He says legislators need to consider all spending priorities together.