The Indiana Department of Transportation will soon receive at least $200 million in funding for major road construction projects, and legislation approved by the House Thursday could end up providing even more.
The General Assembly set aside $400 million last year in a transportation fund for future, long-term projects. Governor Mike Pence and INDOT want that money now to add lanes to Interstates 65, 69 and 70. The approved legislation releases $200 million right away but requires state budget committee approval for the second $200 million.
Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, says the money will have a major impact.
“It creates a lot, a lot of jobs,” Soliday says. “It deals with a lot of congested areas throughout our state.”
The original House version of the bill included some road funding for local communities. The final product leaves it out, and Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis, says that’s a mistake:
“We know what’s happened this past year in regards to the weather – it’s been devastating,” Porter says. “And most of our small cities and towns are just at the bottom of the barrel in regards to resources of taking care of the infrastructure at the local level.”
Soliday says he wanted to see local funding included and looks forward to addressing that issue in next year’s budget.
The bill is headed to the governor for his approval.