Photo: Lee Cannon (Flickr)
Governor Mike Pence says he wants the legislature to free up $400 million in transportation dollars for the state to use on what he calls major projects.
One of Pence’s legislative priorities is the release of money in the Major Moves 2020 fund that was created last year.
The purpose of the fund was to set aside $400 million for long-term, future projects, such as adding lanes to Interstates 65 and 70 or building the Illiana Expressway.
The House passed legislation Monday releasing the funds to the executive branch without any legislative controls.
The measure is now being considered in the Senate, and Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley,who spearheaded the creation of the Major Moves 2020 fund, says he’s not comfortable handing over the money without getting some answers first.
“I haven’t heard INDOT’s explanation of why they think we need to do this now so I need to hear that,” he says. “If there’s some kind of an emergency or some kind of a major project which is out of the ordinary that might fit where we thought we were going with this, I’m willing to consider it.”
Pence says his plan would be to use the money on major highway projects, and that it’s important for INDOT to take control of the money now.
“Our analysis suggests that we will lose 56 million dollars in purchasing power if we wait to spend these dollars later,” he says.
Pence says he’s glad the legislature has, so far, given INDOT the discretion to use the fund as it sees fit, saying the experts should make the final decision on how the money’s spent.