INDOT Joins Governor In Fight Against Transportation Bill

INDOT says a federal transportation bill would cost it $42 million in federal funding if passed.

I-90 toll road

Photo: Doug Kerr (Flickr)

Interstate 90 is part of Indiana's toll road that was leased out to a private company to increase transportation funds.

Governor Mitch Daniels met with members of Congress in Washington D-C this week to express his opposition to legislation that would cut some federal transportation funding to Indiana. The state Department of Transportation says it’s joining in that fight.

A highway bill that has passed the U.S. Senate would change the formula used to calculate how much each state gets in federal transportation dollars. That change would remove privatized highways from the formula, which would cost Indiana $42 million a year.

INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield says the specific impact of that loss hasn’t been determined.

“Well, what we’re talking about are capital funds,” he says. “Those are used for new projects, not ones that we would necessarily do in-house.”

The backers of the highway bill say Indiana shouldn’t be getting federal tax dollars for privatized roads when the state has already been paid for the road by the private company. But Wingfield says Indiana’s federal funding is limited in other ways.

“Every time you purchase a gallon of gas at the pump, you’re paying 18 cents in federal taxes,” he says. “Indiana does not see all of that money back – it goes to other states.  Yet, Indiana is the crossroads of America.”

Wingfield says because of the high volume of traffic on Indiana’s roads, it needs every source of funding open to it, including public-private partnerships.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • David Speakman

    The state can’t have it both ways. Indiana no longer bears the expense of I-80/90 – therefore there is no logical reason the federal government should pay the state for a road that doesn’t cost it any money to upkeep.

    The whole “we pay taxes but do not get it all back” argument is false. Indiana does not live in a vacuum.

    The state’s economy depends on good transportation in other states; it may be the “Crossroads of America” – but those crossroads to not end at the Indiana border .. they link Indiana to other states – where raw materials come *from* and Indiana manufactured goods go *to* – meaning that Indiana benefits even when the transportation dollars are not directly spent in the Hoosier state. 

  • Brown7228

    Too bad Mitch that’s the republican way.  If given the opportunity to stick it to you they will.  Ask the unions that supported you about that.

  • Brown7228

    INDIANA PUBLIC MEDIA you mean Republican Media don’t you?

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