Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill Thursday in Valparaiso to infuse the Major Moves Construction Fund with up to $400 million dollars to be used for highway construction and expansion.
House Enrolled Act 1002, authored by Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, allows Indiana to immediately transfer $200 million dollars from the state’s general fund to the Major Moves Construction Fund.
An additional $200 may be transferred before July 1, 2015 after a review by the bipartisan State Budget Committee, which will consider the state’s financial situation.
“I think roads mean jobs, and not just road jobs,” Pence said Thursday before heading to Valparaiso to sign the bill into law. “Freeing up what we believe will be some $400 million in additional road and infrastructure spending, I think, will improve our economy in the short term.”
Pence had originally pushed to receive all $400 million for expansion projects to the state’s major highways and interstates immediately. But he supported the final product passed by the General Assembly.
“I actually thought that the General Assembly came up with a very good compromise in terms of us waiting until the revenue forecast would be out later in the year and making a decision about what would be prudent and appropriate,” he said.
As it originally passed the House, the bill allocated $25 million to be used as a grant program for local road projects. However, the requirement was stripped from the bill by the Senate, a move that garnered some criticism by members of both parties in both chambers.
Pence said he expects the construction will help expand business in the state.
“Our infrastructure makes Indiana a national transportation hub and a global distribution powerhouse, and it is one of the reasons Indiana continues to be recognized as a great place to do business,” Pence said in a press release. “The legislation I signed today will put Hoosiers to work now and make sure we remain the Crossroads of America.”
On Wednesday, General Electric Aviation announced that it will invest $100 million into a new assembly plant in Lafayette and create as many as 200 jobs by 2020.
“We’re really investing in the kind of long term improvements of our existing infrastructure that we think will invite more of the kind of investment that will make days like yesterday more likely and more possible,” Pence said.
Jacob Rund is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.