As leaders of our respective communities, there is not a day that goes by where we are not thinking about how to further economic development and quality of life in our cities and towns. In our pursuit of this economic progress we have come to understand that there are three critical components in order for our local economies to thrive: a sound tax climate, quality infrastructure, and a talented workforce are imperative for economic progress to be realized.
Under the leadership of House Speaker Brian Bosma and Sen. Brian Long, the legislature has made enormous strides in creating a positive tax climate for business and residents alike. The state of Indiana is now being recognized as an attractive business environment in the Midwest, often being ranked as a top choice by site selectors. However, businesses are no longer using solely a business tax check-list as the deciding factor on where to locate or expand. They are looking at a much broader picture.
Sen. Luke Kenley, and Reps. Tim Brown and Ed Soliday understand this new paradigm and have appropriately pivoted to another crucial element for job retention and creation. Transportation infrastructure is vital. Adequate investment in the maintenance of our roads and streets will ensure that cities and towns continue to drive economic growth in our state.
We have had several substantive conversations with legislative leaders on this subject as they have carefully considered where to raise the resources and how best to mitigate the impact on Hoosier residents. These discussions haven’t spanned weeks, but years.
This past summer and fall a task force of high-level state, local and legislative leaders worked diligently to gather information about the condition of our infrastructure, funding models from other states, and much more. They dug deep and were determined to present data driven solutions to a problem that has never before been quantified in such detail. According to Purdue’s Local Technical Assistance Program, it would take in excess of $1 billion annually over the next 10 years to bring our local roads, streets and bridges into good or fair condition. And, this figure doesn’t even include the similar backlog of state infrastructure funding needs.
Now, we are at a crucial point in terms of how to provide safe, adequate infrastructure for Hoosiers in a manner that truly addresses the critical need. This is a moment for guts and determination, and we like what we’re seeing at the Statehouse thus far.
As local elected officials, we understand the sensitivities to raising new resources for a public use, but the need is real and the time is now to invest in our infrastructure. We commend the leadership that is taking this issue on in the legislature and stand beside them.
Pete Buttigieg, Mayor, South Bend
Scott Fadness, Mayor, Fishers
Tom Henry, Mayor, Fort Wayne
Denny Spinner, Mayor, Huntinburg
Lloyd Winnecke, Mayor, Evansville
Blair Milo, Mayor, LaPorte