Originally printed in the Reporter-Times on March 23, 2017.
One of the central subjects of the 2017 Legislative Session, and of many conversations I have had there at home over many months, is the condition of roads here in town and across Indiana. With this in mind, I would encourage you to read House Bill 1002, a long-term infrastructure funding package currently making its way through the legislature.
Experts project an annual cost of $1 billion to repair and maintain Indiana’s local infrastructure over the course of the next several years. In order to meet this substantial need, this bill enhances revenue streams to the State Highway Fund and gives local governments additional tools to contribute to maintenance efforts.
Mainly, it will increase the gas tax, which hasn’t been done since 2003 and restore the buying power it lost to inflation in that year. In the future, the gas tax will be adjusted automatically to keep pace with inflation.
The bill also expands eligibility for the Community Crossings infrastructure matching grant program, and lowers our matching requirement from one half to one fifth. This will encourage local governments to invest more in roads knowing reasonable contributions will translate into substantial improvements in road conditions.
I encourage you to contact your legislators and tell them you support House Bill 1002. This bill will correct the structural flaws in the way Indiana funds infrastructure maintenance, and give local governments like ours the ability to provide safe, drivable roads for their citizens.
Mayor Shannon Kohl, Martinsville