Holcomb Calls for 20-Year Funding Fix for Roads; Says Open to Options
INDIANAPOLIS, IN New Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said in his "State of the State" address that he wants "a sustainable plan to fund our roads and bridges for the next 20 years." He also proposed incentives to improve service in other transportation modes.
"We're able to drive the goods we produce and grow to 80 percent of the nation's population within 24 hours," Holcomb said. He pledged to work with state lawmakers "to establish a plan that preserves what we have, finishes commitments we have made, and invests in the new projects for the future that ensures Indiana remains The Crossroads of America.
Holcomb, who took office Jan. 9, listed some specific highway projects he wants to invest in - upgrades of US 30 from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, to Valparaiso, Indiana, and 31 to South Bend, Indiana, additional lanes on I-70 and I-65 from Jeffersonville, Indiana, to Crown Point, Indiana, and completing I-69 from Evansville, Indiana, to Ft. Wayne.
He did not propose specific revenue measures but said: "When it comes to paying for these projects, I'm open to a menu of options. The fact is, existing sources of revenue are just not keeping up . . . Here's a case that if we ask Hoosiers to invest a little more, to meet the need, the return is going to be well worth it - for them, for our communities and for our economy."
Besides road and bridge investments, he asked legislators to "authorize funding to strengthen our connection to our country and the world. This includes double-tracking the South Shore Line to improve [rail] access for Hoosiers who travel between northwest Indiana and Chicago, and incentives for more direct flights to better connect Hoosiers to national and international markets. These will save us both time and money - but they're also a critical part of our efforts to attract talent and business to mutually grow."
Holcomb proposed creating a fourth waterborne port for barge cargoes in southeastern Indiana along the Ohio River, which he said "will help accelerate economic development and play to our strength" in that part of the state. "We will pay special attention to our water needs and ensure we have a plan that's efficient, sustainable, and affordable as we move forward."