By Ashley Steeb
INDIANAPOLIS — More of Indiana’s crumbling roads and bridges will be fixed as a result of a massive funding bill approved on the final night of the legislative session.
House Bill 1002, the plan to improve Indiana’s infrastructure, sailed through the General Assembly on Friday with a vote of 37-12 in the Senate and 69-29 in the House.
Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, wears a hard hat while asking the House to vote for the road funding plan. Photo by Katie Stancombe, TheStatehouseFile.com.
“We believe we’ve arrived to a solution that addresses this challenge in a responsible way that spreads the burden now in a way that no individual is impacted unfairly,” Sen. Michael Crider, R-Greenfield, said.
The legislation will create $1.2 billion in additional revenue by 2024 through new taxes and fees, with $350 million of the revenue going to fund local roads and $850 million funding state roads and bridges.
Hoosiers will have to pay an additional 10 cents per gallon at the pump, motor carrier surcharge taxes and special fuel taxes. There will also be a $15 annual fee per vehicle, a $150 annual fee on electric vehicles and a $50 fee for hybrid vehicles.
The new taxes will take effect in 2018 and be phased in over the next seven years. In 2020, the remaining sales tax on gasoline will be gradually shifted to the State Highway Fund.
Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valpariso, author of the bill, said there are two benefits of the bill.
“It’s about the safety of every citizen in this state,” said Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valpariso, author of the bill. “Whether it’s a person riding in the ambulance, or a school child riding in a school bus or whether it’s a worker going to work.”
Soliday said the other benefit the bill will create is 7,000 primary jobs within the first seven years and up to 100,000 in trickle-down jobs.
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, who voted against the bill, said it’s important for Hoosiers to work on the roads.
“If Hoosiers are going to be paying for these roads, then, we would like for there to be Hoosier workers,” Pelath said. “And also, candidly, Hoosier workers that look like Indiana.”
The bill moves to Gov. Eric Holcomb for his decision on the bill.
Ashley Steeb is reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.