Indiana House Democrats are unveiling a road funding plan that indirectly taps into the state’s $2 billion surplus to pay for state and local projects.

Speaking to the media today, House Minority Leader Scott Pelath said the plan calls for the the state to direct the sales tax on gasoline from the general fund to the road fund, and that lost revenue would be made up from dipping into Indiana’s cash reserves.

Pelath says the plan would generate $525 million for roads.  That money would be split between the state and local governments.  He also says it would double the $1 billion that Governor Mike Pence proposed spending on maintenance and preservation.

You can hear Pelath’s comments in the Leon-Tailored Audio above.  It is divided into two parts.

Republicans said while they welcomed all ideas, they said the Democrat proposal would jeopardize the state’s fiscal health by taking money away from other programs.

A spokesman for Governor Mike Pence said…

  • “Governor Pence welcomes House Democrats to the conversation about infrastructure funding. Sadly, the plan presented today by House Democrats forces Hoosiers to choose between cutting $500 million from the general fund for vital services like K-12 tuition support, teacher pensions, Medicaid and state hospitals or going broke in four years. That is irresponsible and not serious. Governor Pence proposed a responsible plan that  provides vital infrastructure funding without raising taxes or cutting vital services for Hoosier families.”

House Ways & Means Chairman Tim Brown noted…

  • “While we appreciate today’s proposal from the House Democrats, their approach to road funding is not sustainable.  Redirecting dollars without a plan to replace that revenue would severely jeopardize Indiana’s ability to stay in the black as well as force us to cut funding to essential state services – mainly K-12 schools and public safety. Moving forward, Hoosiers deserve a long-term, sustainable plan that not only addresses our state’s immediate infrastructure needs, but also maintains and strengthens our transportation system for future generations.”

And House Transportation Chairman Ed Soliday stated…

  • “Ultimately, the House Democrats’ plan is shortsighted.  Merely redirecting all the sales tax on gas toward roads would leave a corresponding hole in our already balanced budget. It is not sustainable because it will deplete our state’s reserves and leave our long-term road and bridge funding problem unresolved. As we move forward on this complex issue, our goal is to address Indiana’s immediate needs while developing a comprehensive, data-driven plan that will maintain our state and local infrastructure for years to come.”