In last year’s budget, the General Assembly put aside $400 million into a transportation fund to be used for major projects in the future.
In response to a request by the governor, proposed legislation this session would release at least some of the money to the executive branch for construction now.
The House included about $25 million for local road construction needs, but the Senate stripped it out.
Still, Senator Long notes that the legislature appropriated 100 million dollars a year in last year’s budget for local roads.
“It used to be we’d slip it into the budget if we could afford it,” Long says. “But we’ve made a commitment to permanently give a revenue stream to local governments, which has been quite meaningful.”
Valparaiso Republican Representative Ed Soliday, who inserted the local roads portion into this year’s bill, says the House isn’t giving up on including local money.
“If we don’t get it this year we’ll be back again because we got about a hundred million a year, but just to maintain what we got is probably eight hundred million,” Soliday says.
House and Senate lawmakers will have a hearing Monday morning to discuss the legislation.