INDIANAPOLIS -- Gov. Mike Pence unveiled a road funding proposal Tuesday that would spend $1 billion dollars over the next four years to preserve existing roads and bridges. Most of the money requires legislative approval, and none of the money would be available before July of 2016.
Pence’s plan sets aside $241 million from the state’s budget reserves next year, calls for $450 million from the next two state budgets, and plans to generate the rest from new bonds, refinancing of existing bonds and drawing interest from a trust fund.
Pence says the sinking bridge that shut down Interstate 65 near Lafayette for a month had no bearing on the creation of the plan, and that his proposal is not because Indiana’s roads are in bad condition.
“While they’re above the national average, we think this is going to be the right investment to continue to improve our infrastructure,” Pence said.
Democrats have charged for months that Indiana’s roads are crumbling, and Democratic leadership calls the new proposal “sheepish,” “the bare minimum,” and the “equivalent of filling potholes.”
Pence calls that political nonsense.
“I had somebody stop me the other day," he said. "I was out and about in the state and they said, ‘I about can’t go anywhere without seeing orange cones Governor.’ Hoosiers know we’re investing a tremendous amount in infrastructure and that we have for many years.”
Pence’s proposal doesn’t allocate funding for local roads. He says he anticipates local funding being part of the discussion in the near future.