March 28, 2017

Senate Changes Road Funding Bill, Adds New Fees

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
The Senate committee passed the amendment 11-2 on Tuesday. - Lauren Chapman/IPB

The Senate committee passed the amendment 11-2 on Tuesday.

Lauren Chapman/IPB

Senate lawmakers put their own stamp on this session’s comprehensive road funding bill while keeping the measure’s primary tax increase intact.

After amendments in a Senate committee, the road funding bill still increases the gas tax by 10 cents. Now, that increase would happen over two years – 5 cents a year. The diesel fuel tax would only go up six cents, instead of 10, also over two years.

The new $15 annual fee for all vehicles is unchanged; the Senate added a $100 annual fee on all commercial vehicles and a $5 fee on all new tire purchases.

The committee took out the shift of sales tax on gasoline to pay for roads, but committee chair Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) isn’t ruling it out entirely.

“We think that is more appropriately addressed as a budget issue so there may be further discussion of those issues,” Hershman says.

House Transportation Committee Chair Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) says he’s positive about the bill’s direction. He notes, though, that he doesn’t know whether the Senate’s changes will generate enough funding to meet the state’s needs.

“And if it’s short, we’ll go to Sen. Kenley and Sen. Hershman and Sen. Crider and say, ‘Hey, guys, we agreed on the number. What are we gonna do about this?’” Soliday says.

The bill still authorizes the governor to explore tolling Indiana’s interstates.

A Senate committee approved the bill 11 to 2, sending it to the Senate floor.

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