NewsPublic Affairs / February 26, 2016

Lawmakers Inch Closer To Agreement On Road Funding

There's still disagreement between the House and Senate over whether the state should implement short- or long-term solutions this session. - Emily Metheny

There's still disagreement between the House and Senate over whether the state should implement short- or long-term solutions this session.

Emily Metheny

INDIANAPOLIS -- Senate and House lawmakers inch closer to agreement on the road funding debate as the 2016 session winds down.  But, there are still fundamental disagreements over whether the state should implement short- or long-term solutions this session.

The House GOP has argued for a long-term road funding solution all session – it’s largely how it defended its proposed increases in gas and cigarette taxes.  The Senate and Gov. Mike Pence have been staunchly opposed to those tax hikes right now. 

Speaker Brian Bosma argues that timing is an issue – with elections in November, he says, politicians don’t want to raise taxes.  But he says waiting even one more year shouldn’t be an option.

“Roads are in less repair in that year period.  Bridges are in worse condition in that year period.  And it’s difficult to make up that time,” Bosma said.

But others argue long-term solutions aren’t the only route.  Senate GOP Leader David Long says his caucus’ plan – which provides short term funding at both the state and local level – can help shore up Indiana roads while lawmakers explore long-term answers.

“I don’t see the right answers yet on the plans," Long said. "I do think the House Republicans have elevated the discussion, to their credit.”

Long says genuine policy disagreements, not election year politics, are driving the Senate’s opposition to the House plan.

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