The Funding Indiana’s Roads for a Stronger Safer Tomorrow (FIRSST) task force completed their fifth and final meeting on Monday, December 19. The final draft report was approved with the support of both Senate and House task force members, which is a positive step forward from where the infrastructure discussion began during the 2016 session. The draft report includes support for a variety of revenue mechanisms including tolling, increasing and indexing the gas tax, fees on electric vehicles, shifting existing revenue and vehicle registration fee increases. These options will serve as a starting point for legislators to discuss how the state addresses their $1 billion funding gap.
While the report does not provide specific details on each funding mechanism, legislative leadership as well as Governor-elect Holcomb have stated the goal for the 2017 session is a long-term funding strategy to address Indiana’s road infrastructure needs.
How the General Assembly will approach the local infrastructure need is still unknown at this time. The FIRSST task force states that local government may be in need of additional funding. The final report notes the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) at Purdue University will release their report of the collected asset management plans soon, which will provide additional data on what the local needs is. Fortunately, this data was released just before the holidays. Per the report, the local need was identified to be at least $1 billion annually over the next ten years, using the most conservative estimate.
We strongly encourage local officials to contact legislators now to discuss the importance of new revenue mechanisms that will not only address maintenance and preservation needs but also establish a long-term funding structure for an expanding local infrastructure system.
The LTAP Technical Brief can be found here. The full report will be posted upon its release.