Highway officials are beginning to ponder what is next after the proceeds from leasing the Indiana Toll Road run out. The 10-year road-building binge dubbed Major Moves has two years and $3.5 billion.
INDOT Commissioner Michael Cline says that is enough money to complete all the Major Moves projects except the I-69 extension, which was always expected to be only partly funded by the lease proceeds. Once Major Moves runs out, Cline expects to still have funding.
“Over the next 10 years, we think we‘ll average $750 million a year, which is not zero,” Cline says. “But with the challenges that we have with inflation and other things that drive the cost of projects–utility relocations and land acquisition and traditional things–the dollar doesn‘t go as far.”
The exact amount of funding depends in part on the next federal highway bill. Cline says that should be enough for maintenance needs. He says it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how much cash the state needs in all, since the need for new construction is more subjective than keeping existing roads in good repair.
Cline says a public-private partnership is possible for some projects, especially the final Martinsville to Indy leg of I-69. Legislators are expected to explore other options in the session which begins next week.
Cline has been INDOT commissioner since 2010 and will continue in that role under new Governor Mike Pence.