The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

January 23, 2013

Lawmakers looking for ways to patch road repair funds

INDIANAPOLIS — Freshman lawmaker Alan Morrison knew long before he came to the Indiana Statehouse that Indiana’s roads were in a bad state.

Traveling through his mostly rural, six-county district in central western Indiana to campaign, the Terre Haute Republican was often glad he was in a four-wheel drive vehicle that could handle rugged terrain.

“It shocked me how badly our infrastructure had crumbled,” said Morrison, elected in November to the Indiana House. “It’s not crumbling. It has crumbled.”

Between 2000 and 2010, the major sources of road repair money collected by the state and doled out to local governments dropped by about $100 million. Morrison could see the evidence of that, in roads that had turned to gravel and in gravel roads that had become nearly impassable in spots.

“There are roads where I was glad I had my four-wheel drive because I wouldn’t have gotten to some people’s houses without it,” he said. “What was going through my mind at that point was, ‘What if an ambulance had to get up this road in bad weather to get to that house? It’s not going to make it.”

Those experiences are why Morrison and a Democrat from a neighboring district, state Rep. Clyde Kersey, have signed on as co-authors of legislation aimed at freeing up millions of more dollars for local road repair.

The bill, authored by state Rep. Jeff Thompson of Lizton, would stop the state from diverting $150 million from fuel taxes that currently fund the Indiana State Police and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.  It would shift much of that money into local street and road repair. It would also shift more maintenance and repair dollars — about $30 million — away from the state highways and back to local roads.

“It’s about fairness,” Kersey said. “It puts the money back where it was intended to go: to maintain our roads.”

Thompson’s bill is just one of several proposed fixes for the state’s crumbling — or as Morrison sees it, already crumbled — infrastructure.

The Association of Indiana Counties supports Thompson’s bill, but would likely call it a “patch” rather than a fix.

The association points to recent studies by Purdue University’s Local Technical Assistance Center and by the American Society of Civil Engineers that estimate that it would take more $800 million to fix about half of all county paved roads in Indiana that are badly need of repair. The studies also found it would take more than $3 billion to bring Indiana roads and highways up to standards.

Another idea for funding road maintenance is coming from state Sen. Luke Kenley, the influential chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  

The Republican from Noblesville has proposed putting an additional license plate tax of $20 to $50 per car as a way to raise $60 million to $200 million annually for the Indiana Department of Transportation’s road repair funds.

Kenley describes it as a kind of “user fee” that would help counter an irreversible trend: The advance of fuel-efficient cars and trucks that are cutting into revenues raised by the state’s 18-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline.

He also supports legislation that would allow counties to raise their wheel tax, imposed on local residents annually in about half of Indiana’s 92 counties, from the current $40 to $100 a year.

Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Mike Pence is proposing a measure that would take a portion of the state’s budget surplus that currently goes to pay off some of state’s public pension obligations and redirect those dollars into a new transportation and infrastructure fund.

That measure, met with skepticism by legislative leaders, would mean about $347 million over the next two-year period for transportation infrastructure. How it would be split between the state and local governments would be up to lawmakers to decide.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • NWS - HB0417 - Sperry Funeral - 10.jpg Family, friends bid farewell to Jesse Sperry

    The fussing of 10-day-old Autumn Marie Sperry seemed to coincide with the beginning of the funeral service for her father, Jesse Sperry, whose body rested just a few feet away. More than 200 friends and family members gathered at Edgewood Baptist Church this afternoon to pay their respects to Jesse, who was killed April 6 in a traffic accident on Indiana 32.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS - HB0417 - mother arrest - JC 5.JPG Police: Woman brings handgun to school

    An Anderson woman said she forgot she was carrying a gun Wednesday when she went to St. Mary’s School to meet with a principal and discuss a threat made against her son.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • AU students giving back to community

    For the past five years Anderson University students have been sprucing up the city through the Operation Foundation program.

    April 16, 2014

  • NWS - HB0417 - election forum - 30 Candidates meet in Alexandria

    Several Madison County candidates running for a variety of offices met at Alexandria-Monroe High School Wednesday night to introduce themselves to voters and talk about some issues.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Local Briefs: April 17 A compilation of news items of local and statewide interest as published in the Thursday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    April 17, 2014

  • Anderson collects nearly $67,000 in bad debt

    The city of Anderson collected almost $67,000 in bad debts owed to the four utility departments in March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Dog owners invited to Easter egg hunt McCulloch Park will be going to the dogs on Saturday. Residents are invited to join in for the Easter egg hunt specifically for canines and their human companions.

    April 16, 2014

  • Arrest Log: April 17 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    April 16, 2014

  • Arrest Log: April 16 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    April 16, 2014

  • Former Indy radio personality accused of defrauding family members in Madison County A former Indianapolis radio personality was arrested Monday, suspected of stealing the identities of four Madison County family members over a four-year span.

    April 16, 2014

March Staff Photos


Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook