|Budget bill could ease road funding crisis for Indiana counties|
|Written by Submitted|
|Monday, February 25, 2013 6:06 PM|
Local governments would receive some much needed funding for road maintenance and improvement projects in the 2013 state budget which passed out of the Indiana House Ways and Means committee this week. Association of Indiana Counties members met with legislators this week to offer their support of the bill during the AIC’s annual legislative conference.
“Many of our member counties have not been able to fully fund routine maintenance projects, forcing counties to return some roads to gravel,” said AIC President Penny Lukenbill. “This added funding would help counties to begin reclaiming some of the roads that have fallen into severe disrepair as a result of the $800 million per year road funding need.”
The Indiana House version of the budget increases road funding overall across the state by $250 million each year of the biennium. Counties would receive $68.15 million, each of the next two years.
The House Ways and Means committee found new funding by redirecting all gas taxes to roads. Current law allows gas taxes to be used to fund a variety of state agencies including Indiana State Police, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and the Department of Revenue. The new formula also redirects 1.5 percent of sales tax money to roads.
Indiana Association of County Commissioners President Ken Paust said, “We look forward to working with the Senate to continue the discussion on the need for the increase in road funding as proposed by the House.”
Road funding is a top priority for counties this session and is critical to economic development. Counties understand that because this is not a complete solution they must partner with the legislature to fund road projects by continuing with local efforts such as the wheel tax, income tax and gaming revenue.
The bill is expected to be heard early next week in the full House for a final reading.