By a vote of 49-1, the Indiana State Senate today passed legislation that would provide $430 million to local governments for road and bridge improvements across the state.
The bill was authored by State Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek).
Hershman says SB 67 would provide an immediate distribution of approximately $430 million for local governments, and require that localities direct a minimum of 75 percent of the funds toward local road and bridge needs or placed in a rainy day fund. The remaining 25 percent could be used at the localities’ discretion.
Under current law, the state distributes local income tax revenues to the appropriate local units of government after processing Hoosiers’ tax returns to determine how much funding each locality should receive. Over time, excess balances in local governments’ accounts have accumulated to a statewide average of 25 percent of annual receipts, which led Hershman to conclude that it is reasonable to make a one-time distribution of much of the current excess balance immediately.
“Senate Bill 67 will immediately provide resources for local infrastructure improvements, which local governments around the state have identified as a top priority,” Hershman said. “This plan provides $430 million in road funding now, without tapping into Indiana’s budget reserves, raising taxes, or creating debt. Senate Bill 67 is designed to work in concert with a more long-term funding solution, which lawmakers are still discussing.”
Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane criticized the measure, “I’m relieved my colleagues across the aisle and Governor Pence are acknowledging the tenuous state of Indiana’s infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers rated our infrastructure at a D+, unique to Indiana or not, that’s a problem. I am concerned that the proposal passed today is a mirage. Sadly it won’t solve our state’s long-term infrastructure needs. The money being redistributed back to local governments is their money. Frankly, they are so thirsty for any funding, they would drink sand. Hoosiers are not looking for Band-Aids, they are looking for a long-term solution and this is not that,” he said.
The measure now goes to the House.