Road funding debate focuses on how to find a sustainable solution

By Max Bomber
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — One of two road improvement plans under consideration by the legislature this session passed the Senate Tuesday with doubts about long-term funding.

Last week, the Appropriations Committee changed House Bill 1001, the House Republicans’ road-funding plan, by removing the tax hikes on gas and cigarettes. Instead, they changed the bill to use the surplus to cover road improvements.

Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, discusses the task force that would create a long-term solution to road funding if House Bill 1001 passes as is. Photo By Max Bomber TheStatehouseFile.com.

Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, discusses the task force that would be asked to create a long-term solution to road funding if House Bill 1001 passes as is. Photo By Max Bomber TheStatehouseFile.com.

Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Indianapolis, said she did not think lawmakers offered enough in this bill and that they failed to provide a long-term solution for funding.

“We are kicking the can down the road again,” said Tallian.

However, the Senate sponsor of the bill, Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, argued the task force that would be created by the legislation would figure out a sustainable solution to pay for the improvements.

“This bill is just a step along the way to doing a good job,” said Kenley.

In another change made last week, the motor vehicle excise surtax and municipal wheel tax could be applied to communities of 10,000 residents. Originally, the legislation only allowed for 20,000. The funds from those taxes would be given to counties, cities and towns for the purchase of salt and other ice melting chemicals.

The bill passed the Senate 39-11 and now returns to the House for further consideration.

Max Bomber is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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