Funding Indiana’s Roads for a Stronger Safer Tomorrow Task Force meets July 21st

By Russ Phillips

Funding Indiana’s Roads for a Stronger Safer Tomorrow Task Force” will meet Thursday, July 21, 2016 and accept public testimony from the audience. This meeting will get underway at 1:00P.M. EDT in Rm. 404 of the State House and be livestreamed. Committee Members and the Agenda will be found at the previous link.

Individual citizens are encouraged to attend this meeting and to provide testimony regarding their personal experience with Indiana’s highways/bridges.

The Committee is charged with the following responsibilities:

(A)The following: (i) Review state highway and major bridge needs. (ii) Verify road and bridge needs at the local level. (iii) Develop a long term plan for state highway and major bridge needs that addresses the ten (10) points [see 10 points below] described in HEA 1001-2016, SECTION 21(g) and: (a) will achieve the recommended pavement and bridge conditions; (b) will complete the current statewide priority projects by finishing projects that have been started; (c) includes Tier 1, 2, and 3 projects; and (d) using the model developed by the Indiana Department of Transportation, includes sustainable funding mechanisms for the various components of the plan. (iv) Develop a long term plan for local road and bridge needs. (Source: HEA 1001-2016, SECTION 21.)

The long term plan for state highway and major bridge needs must include the following ten (10) points: (highlighting added by this website)

(1) Estimates of the costs of major projects, including a study of which projects can be done within current revenue streams and which projects may require additional funding.
(2) The identification of projects for which a public-private partnership, a public-private agreement, or tolling might be viable, with planning to verify and confirm these public-private partnership, public-private agreement, or tolling opportunities.
(3) The identification of resources for annual maintenance need, concentrating first on available user fees and attempting to secure stable and predictable funding sources. This must include a determination of whether additional resources must be pursued and what form of resource is most appropriate for each project.
(4) A review of the state’s debt situation and the development of a plan to maintain a strong financial position for the state. This must include consideration of whether a fee or tax could be associated with the life of a bond for an individual project, with the fee or tax then expiring by law upon payment of the bond.
(5) The evaluation of the state system of taxes, fees, and registration fees, and the equity of payments by different groups of users of transportation assets. This must include an evaluation of the overall reliability over time of the receipt of revenue from these sources.(6) A review of the fuel tax system, including such concepts as indexing tax rates, changing tax rates, and the appropriate collection points for these taxes.
(7) The ensuring that the projects listed in the plan are priority items that should be carried out, and confirming that these projects bring value to citizens either through access and safety needs or for economic development of Indiana as a whole.
(8) A review of the impact and advisability of dedicating some part of state sales tax to roads and road maintenance.
(9) An analysis of how collective purchasing agreements could be developed to share and reduce costs across the system of state and local governments.
(10) A presentation of the plan and recommendations to the budget committee before January 1, 2017.

Local roads would miss out in Gov. Mike Pence’s $1 billion spending plan

(A Presidential Debate schedule and transcripts are here. – Admin.) IndyStar.com By Tony Cook 10/15/15 Gov. Mike Pence’s proposed $1 billion spending plan on highways over the next four years would represent an increase over current spending — but it leaves out a large portion of Indiana’s roads and bridges. That’s because the plan would only fund state-maintained highways and bridges. While those are generally the most traveled, they make up only about a third of the state’s transportation infrastructure. Counties and cities maintain most of the rest. But they would not receive … Continue reading

Indiana must find a way to deal with big issues

State must find a way to deal with big issues The Indianapolis Star By John Ketzenberger 5/10/15 It already seems like an eon has passed since the Indiana General Assembly called it quits on a tumultuous session just 10 days ago. Is it too soon to start looking ahead? The simple answer is no, there are a lot of important issues that should get more time and attention from lawmakers, including transportation funding, rationalizing the tax structure between local and state government, and ensuring the state’s tax revenue streams are … Continue reading

Time is running out on federal highway funding

The Washington Post
By Ashley Halsey III
5/7/15

With Congress on the brink of another failure at the end of this month, the usual bickering over who is to blame for not passing a promised long-term transportation bill was in full bloom Thursday on Capitol Hill.

“Our friends on the other side of the aisle haven’t issued a peep about what to do about it,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, flanked by four Democratic colleagues at an afternoon news conference. “Please tell us how you intend to avoid a highway shutdown.”

The only plausible answer appears to be extending the current extension, which expires May 31.

Another extension would be the 33rd time in six years that Congress has faltered when faced with the need for a new transportation authorization measure…
Continue reading

 

President’s 2016 Budget in Pictures

National Priorities Project
By Jasmine Tucker
2/9/15

President Obama recently released his fiscal year 2016 budget proposal. Budgets are about our nation’s priorities: What are we going to spend money on? How are we going to raise the money we want to spend?

Though the budget ultimately enacted by Congress may look very different from the budget request released by the president, the president’s budget is important. It’s the president’s vision for the country in fiscal year 2016 and beyond, and it reflects input and spending requests from every federal agency.

These pictures tell the story of the priorities found in the president’s budget.


President’s Proposed 2016 Budget: Total Spending

This chart shows how President Obama proposed allocating $4.1 trillion* in total federal spending in fiscal year 2016, an increase of more than 5 percent over the total 2015 spending level. This includes every type of federal spending, from funding for discretionary programs like infrastructure improvements and job training to mandatory spending programs like Social Security and Medicare, as well as interest payments on the federal debt. Social Security and labor, Medicare and health programs, and military spending will make up 76 percent of the total budget, leaving just 24 percent, or $957 billion of the $4.1 trillion total, to spend on all other programs.

* Spending on Government (administration) is less than zero and omitted in the total spending pie chart. Lower than zero spending can occur when segments of government have surpluses from previous years that they return to the federal government.

Continue reading →

Potholes widen as (Indiana) struggles to pay for roads: Needs $7 billion in next 10 years

Maureen Hayden, News and Tribune CNHI Statehouse Bureau Chief 12/8/14 INDIANAPOLIS — Jim Meece, a commissioner in rural Parke County, was happy when the Legislature funneled about $100 million extra a year into road funds last year. The money didn’t go far. His county’s allotment — about $500,000 — mostly bought thousands of gallons of thick oil and crushed stone to fill potholes. “There’s a lack of understanding of what’s happening out here in the boonies,” said Meece. “We have roads with more patches than blacktop. We have patches on … Continue reading