Letter: Don’t short-change local road funding

To the editor:

While road funding shortfalls are a statewide issue, the majority of problems created by these gaps fall to city, town and county governments. Why? Because these local governments maintain 75 percent of Indiana’s road lane miles and 70 percent of the state’s bridges but receive only 46 percent of state-generated revenue for roads and bridge maintenance.

The challenges local governments face are considerable. According to the 2016 “Indiana Local Road and Bridge Conditions” report, only 15 percent of city roads, 17 percent of town roads and 11 percent of county roads were rated as “good.” All others were rated as “fair” or “poor.”

Facing these realities, we applaud the 2017 Indiana General Assembly for addressing long-standing road funding needs. They are wise to seek long-term dependable funding dedicated solely to road and bridge maintenance.

While both the House and Senate have addressed this issue, local government agencies support the House version of HB 1002, and encourage the Senate to consider a version that puts similar levels of resources and control into the hands of local governments.

The key difference between the two versions is the level of funding going to the local government agencies. According to an engineer studying the issue, the proposed increase for local road funding in the House version is 42 percent, versus a 20 percent increase in the Senate version.

The impact of this difference goes beyond pot holes and rusty bridge beams. If infrastructure so critical to the state’s economy continues to deteriorate, job growth and economic development will suffer.

As representatives of local governments throughout Indiana, we strongly encourage legislators to support the House version of the bill so that we can continue to grow and prosper.

April Fisher, town manager, Cumberland

Gary D. Eakin, town manager, Danville

Larry Longman, president, McCordsville

Janet L. Jarson, president, New Palestine

Andrew J. Klinger, town manager, Plainfield

Gary L. Raikes, president, Speedway

Tim Haak, mayor, Zionsville

Jim Brainard, mayor, Carmel

Scott Fadness, mayor, Fishers

Steve Barnett, mayor, Franklin

Chuck Fewell, mayor, Greenfield

Mark W. Myers, mayor, Greenwood

Steve Collier, mayor,  Lawrence

John Ditslear, mayor, Noblesville

Andy Cook, mayor,  Westfield

Mark Heirbrandt, commissioner, Hamilton County

Gary Pool, engineer, Hancock County

Lucas Mastin, engineer, Johnson County