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Lawmakers Split On Spending $400 Million Transportation Fund

bridge construction

Republican leaders in the House and Senate are disagreeing on whether the legislature should retain some control over $400 million dedicated to transportation.

The General Assembly created the Major Moves 2020 fund in last year’s budget.

The fund was created largely by Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley, who first introduced it into the budget process. Kenley’s idea was to set aside the money for future, long-term projects such as adding more lanes to Interstates 65 and 70 or finishing I-69.

Governor Mike Pence wants the legislature to release that fund to the state so it can spend the money on current projects. Kenley says he hasn’t heard a good explanation on why the funds are needed.

“I don’t think we ought to release the money unless the legislature agrees to the purpose that it’s going to," Kenley says.

The House approved legislation releasing the money to the executive branch while setting aside $25 million for local roads.

House Speaker Brian Bosma says he prefers to allow the Indiana Department of Transportation to decide what to do with the money.

“I hesitate to get into the position of legislating a precise list of projects," he says. "We went through that with Major Moves and it’s very difficult to make those kind of executive decisions in a legislative forum.”

The bill is now in the Senate for its consideration.

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