House Republicans have outlined a long-range road funding plan to raise nearly $700 million in additional infrastructure funds through the next two years.
Overall, the plan could raise $1.2 billion in new revenue each year for the next 20 years, according to the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 150, with about 23,000 construction workers.
House Bill 1002 calls for increasing gas tax by 10 cents per gallon. The current 18-cents-a-gallon gas tax has not been increased since 2003. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said the proposed increase would cost drivers about $4 more a month at the pump, the Statehousefile.com has reported.
If the bill passes, it would also require a $15 annual fee on all Indiana-registered vehicles registered in Indiana, along with a $150 annual fee for electric vehicles (which obviously don’t use gas.) A $150 annual fee on all electric vehicles is also part of the plan to make up for the lack of fuel purchased by those drivers.
There could also be toll roads in the plan.
“If you drive more, you pay more. If you drive less and use the asset less, you pay less,” Bosma said. “Our overarching goal is to have a sustainable long-term and comprehensive road funding program.”
The legislature also proposes widening both I-65 and I-70 to three lanes, possibly funded through tolling existing state highways and interstates.
Bosma believes the extra fees will pay off.
“Drivers have about $500 in additional expenses to their cars per year because of the roads,” he said. These repair costs will be reduced with fewer potholes and better roads.
IUOE local 150 financial secretary David Fagan said improving the state’s infrastructure creates job growth.
“Indiana is known as the crossroads of America, and to maintain that, we must have the roads and infrastructure to support the economic growth of this state,” Fagan said. “Not only that, but rebuilding infrastructure will help us from today to 20 years down the road.”
Gov.-elect Eric Holcomb said in a statement that he’s encouraged by the conversations he’s been having with state leaders.
“When it comes to road and bridge funding, we all share the same goal – creating a long-term, sustainable plan that strongly positions us for the future, and I’m confident we’ll have one before we adjourn.”