Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the state is pulling out of a deal with an Ohio-based company to lease Indiana’s cell tower network.
That deal was supposed to help pay for an estimated $50 million of the state’s bicentennial projects.
Former Gov. Mike Pence first announced a deal with Ohio-based Agile Networks in September for a 50-year lease of the state’s unused cell towers.The deal was expected to yield Indiana $260 million, expand rural broadband coverage, and pay for bicentennial projects.
But it was never approved by the State Budget Committee as lawmakers and others expressed concerns about its repercussions.
Now, Holcomb says he’s terminating contract discussions with Agile.
“I’ve asked the [Office of Management and Budget] staff for an assessment of how to move forward and develop alternatives that we might pursue, including rebidding,” Holcomb says.
House Speaker Rep. Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) applauds Holcomb’s move. And he says paying for remaining bicentennial projects – such as a new inn at Potato Creek State Park and a new State Archives building – is up in the air.
“Perhaps some of the projects that haven’t commenced yet, if we can’t find an appropriate way to pay for those … they may have to go on hold for a while,” Bosma says.
But Senate budget architect Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says he’s planning to find room in the budget to pay for those projects.