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home : columnists : columnists July 22, 2017

Supporting a long-term road funding plan

By Kathy Kreag Richardson
Indiana State Representative, District 29

Indiana lawmakers are focusing on the state's infrastructure system this legislative session. Data shows that 10 percent of our roads are in poor condition, resulting in Hoosier motorists spending nearly $500 annually on vehicle repairs. State and local economies also greatly depend on reliable roads and bridges. Our community has experienced a high volume of road construction, and this is a result of steps taken to address immediate infrastructure needs. Now we need to turn our attention to meeting our long-term needs and focus on a road funding plan that will keep our infrastructure safe and functioning for years to come without saddling future generations with mountains of debt.

Over the last 12 years, Indiana has led with the right policies, cutting billions of dollars in taxes for Hoosier families and job creators. Indiana now ranks among the top states nationally for its economic climate. Now is the time to invest in Indiana's infrastructure without spending down critical reserves or cutting into the state's general fund, which pays for critical services like education and public safety.

Over the next 20 years the state needs more than $1 billion in additional funding per year to support its roads and bridges. Legislators must look to those who use and benefit from the state's infrastructure to help pay for maintenance and improvements.

House Bill 1002 offers a responsible and data-driven road funding plan. The bill calls for increasing user fees by 10 cents per gallon on gasoline, special fuel and motor carrier surcharge taxes to restore buying power lost to inflation. The gasoline tax has not been increased since 2003 and other fees haven't been increased since 1988. Under this plan the average Hoosier motorist would only pay about $4 more per month at the pump. Moving forward, these fuel tax rates would automatically be indexed on an annual basis.

Under House Bill 1002, the remaining 4.5 cents of the sales tax on gasoline would be shifted from the state's general fund to the State Highway Fund.

The bill would also implement a new $15 annual fee on all vehicles and a $150 annual fee on all electric vehicles registered in Indiana. The moneys would provide a stable and sustainable source of funding for Indiana's Community Crossings Matching Grant Fund, which provides road funding dollars to local governments.

If passed, House Bill 1002 would also require the Indiana Department of Transportation to study tolling and submit a waiver to the federal government to allow tolling on existing interstates.

This road funding plan is a start, and it will continue to be debated and discussed in the coming weeks. If you have questions or input, please call me at 317-234-9380 or email H29@iga.in.gov.

Kathy Kreag Richardson is a Republican State Representative from District 29, which includes Noblesville, and has served in the legislature since 1992. She also is the elections administrator for Hamilton County. You may contact her at h29@in.gov.

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