Messmer: Legislation To Boost Local Road Funding

Finding additional funding for Indiana’s roads and infrastructure has been a popular topic of discussion around the state recently.

Lawmakers across the state recognize the value of quality roads and infrastructure not only to everyday Hoosiers and their families, but to businesses and visitors.

District 48 State Senator Mark Messmer of Jasper says since 2013, the Indiana General Assembly has provided over $1.2 billion in funding for road infrastructure, including $100 million each year for local roads and bridges.

Now under state law, Indiana is only allowed to distribute these extra funds once they exceed 50 percent of the local governments’ annual income-tax receipts. Even then, the state is only permitted by law to distribute the money that is in excess of the 50-percent level.

Senate Bill 67 would make a one-time distribution of much of these balances to local units of government immediately, with the stipulation that at least 75 percent of the money is used for roads or placed in a rainy-day fund to be used for road funding at a later time. Local governments would be able to spend the remaining 25 percent of the distributions at their discretion.

Messmer says if passed, the bill would have a major impact not only on communities around the state, but locally as well.

Messmer says roads and infrastructure will remain a top priority in the 2016 legislative session, which begins tomorrow. He says he believes the plan is a good start and would provide much-needed funding for communities to complete current projects on time and improve roads and bridges.

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