Chesterton Tribune

 

 

House backs Soliday road funding bill

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A bill to improve Indiana’s transportation system passed out of the House with bipartisan support and will now go to the Senate.

House Bill 1002, a joint effort between State Representatives Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, and Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, authorizes the Budget Agency to transfer funds, already approved in the biennial budget, to the State Highway Fund to address Indiana’s current infrastructure needs.

“Improving Indiana’s transportation system is an ongoing endeavor and takes a coordinated effort to sustain it,” said Soliday. “After working with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Chairman Brown, House Bill 1002 is a step towards addressing several of Indiana’s immediate infrastructure needs as well as the needs that local governments have to improve their roads and bridges.”

If enacted, HB 1002 would allow the Budget Agency to transfer any balance in the Major Moves 2020 Trust Fund, which will be at $400 million on July 1 of this year, to the State Highway Fund to address Indiana’s current infrastructure needs. The Budget Agency has until July 1, 2015 to make the transfer.

Currently, INDOT has 12 high-value projects in mind which these additional dollars would help support.

While the costs to repair Indiana’s roads vary, according to INDOT, preliminary cost estimates for the 12 projects average $9 million per centerline mile. Several key factors contribute to the cost of these projects like rehabilitation of existing pavement, interchange modifications and bridge replacement.

“The funding mechanisms were changed last year for the state’s biennial budget, allocating 1 percent of the state sales tax to go to road funding. We also set aside $400 million to be put into the Major Moves 2020 Fund, so that our state’s infrastructure could be prepared for future demands,” said Brown.

Additionally, Soliday authored an amendment to HB 1002, which would provide a one-time transfer of $25 million from the State Highway Fund to the Local Infrastructure Grant Fund. This transfer of dollars would support local municipalities working on projects that either repair roads or increase the capacity of local roads and bridges.

The projects would require approval from INDOT, must be part of the local unit’s transportation asset management plan and the local unit would need to provide at least 10 percent of the total project cost.

“This $25 million transfer is designed to help local governments address their infrastructure needs while retaining a large portion to support several projects that INDOT already has in motion,” said Soliday.

 

Posted 2/6/2014