Photo: Dough Kerr (Flickr)
President Barack Obama is expected to sign the much debated highway bill this week. It gives Indiana more money to cover projects like I-69 that are already on the state’s agenda.
Typically Indiana has been reimbursed 92 percent of the money it pays to the government in federal gas taxes. In 2014 that will change to 97 percent.
8th District Congressman Larry Bucshon helped negotiate the bill. He says he considers the change a success.
“We’ve been able to get rid of some of the Washington D.C. Bureaucracy and let the states keep their money,” Bucshon says.
But what was left out of the bill could be just as important as what’s in it.
Indiana Department of Transportation spokesperson Will Wingfield says a provision that would have limited funding to states like Indiana that have privatized toll roads was eliminated from the final version of the bill.
“That really made a big difference,” he says. “That could have cost another 40 million dollars more per year.”
State transportation officials will decide how to spend the federal money. Most of it will be combined with state and local dollars to cover the cost of projects the state is already working on.