Originally printed in KPC News, Letters to the Editor on Friday, February 17, 2017. 

To the editor:

I feel it is my responsibility to this city to weigh in on a crucial issue; one that Angola and many others around our region and our state are facing but which seems to go unresolved year after year. It’s the roads.

I have heard people voice their concerns over the poor condition of roadways here and all across the state, and I agree that the process by which we maintain our roads — and appropriate the funds for doing so — is seriously broken. Despite good intentions all around, individual budget proposals, enacted every few years in the state legislature, have failed to prevent the steady degradation of our transportation infrastructure. The costs of good infrastructure is simply too great.

In this context, I write today to express my support for House Bill 1002, a long-term, data-driven infrastructure funding plan currently under consideration in the state Legislature. This bill gives local governments and state infrastructure agencies the tools they need to meet the need for road maintenance well into the future.

The centerpiece of the plan is the creation of dedicated funding streams that will remain stable regardless of inflation or unforeseen budgetary fluctuations. It does so primarily by re-adjusting the gas tax. Since that tax was last adjusted in 2003, it has lost 10 cents of buying power to inflation. And the tax will be indexed each year to hold constant relative to inflation.

Good roads entail greater safety, less vehicle damage, more efficient commerce and stronger economic growth. In our region in particular we have long been frustrated by the state and local infrastructure needs that cannot be met under the current system. I hope you’ll join me in reaching out to your state legislators to declare your support for House Bill 1002 and a long-term plan for Indiana’s transportation lifelines, our roads.

Mayor Richard M. Hickman, Angola

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