With a new state budget in the works during the next legislative session, Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Michael Cline says he is formulating the state’s priorities and how to pay for them.
Cline says his outlook is divided into two parts – short and long term future. He says, in the next year, several significant projects from the Major Moves program are scheduled to open, including portions of Interstate-69, the Hoosier Heartland Highway and other roads and bridges.
“We are very focused on getting those open so that they are in service and providing value not only to the people that are driving on those roadways or driving on alternative roadways that are not as good, but also to encourage that opportunity to lay that platform for economic development,” he says.
Cline says the long-term focus is on finding new and innovative ways to fund the state’s transportation needs, preserving the state’s roads and bridges.
“As we get into the budget sessions over the next several months with the General Assembly, we’ll have to get into very specific things in two-year increments,” he says.
Cline says he wants INDOT to look at existing and underutilized resources as solutions for the state’s funding needs, but did not go into specifics on what those resources might be.
During a discussion with a legislative study committee, Cline talked about increased tolling as an option, including plans for tolls on the Ohio River Bridges project.