A group of U.S. representatives billing themselves as the “Make It In America Tour” visited Indianapolis Tuesday. The tour aims to connect Democratic leaders with community and business leaders to discuss national infrastructure needs.
The discussion suggested recent state efforts to increase funding are not being felt at the local level.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) joined Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) in his district to discuss transportation with community and business leaders.
Last week President Donald Trump released an infrastructure proposal offering $100 billion in federal infrastructure incentives for state and local governments – many of which are already cash-strapped.
Hoyer argues does not help local governments fund their infrastructure issues.
“A hundred billion dollars was for the states,” Hoyer says. “But the problem with that is that it’s an 80-20 match. Not 80 federal, but 80 local and that makes it very tough.”
Carson says the president’s plan will actually reduce federal funding to states like Indiana.
“Not only is he hurting innovation, he’s really crippling the ability of states to work with the federal government,” Carson says.
Last year Indiana legislators tried to find a solution by passing a gas tax to increase funding for road repairs – but that money is only designed for upkeep of existing roads and bridges, not building new ones.
Indianapolis Department of Public Works Director Dan Parker says while that has helped INDOT, not much is trickling down for local municipalities.
“People think that their increase in the gas tax that the state did last year has made the city DPW flush with cash,” Parker says. “Well that’s just really not the case.”
Indianapolis was the group’s seventh stop. The group say they plan to collect comments from their visit and take them to Congress.