(INDIANAPOLIS) – Five years into a 20-year local road and bridge program, legislators are looking at whether it should be tweaked.
The Community Crossings program was created by then-Governor Mike Pence in 2016, and made permanent under Governor Holcomb the following year. The fund will surpass a billion dollars in grants awarded later this year. It’s helped pay for more than 100 bridge repairs and 18,000 road projects in nearly 500 cities and towns.
Rolling Prairie Representative Jim Pressel wants a review of whether all cities are getting their fair share. The grant fund is financed by gas taxes and a 15-dollar vehicle registration fee. Pressel says he’s been told that Allen County gets back a tenth of what it pays in.
The required local share of project spending for smaller communities is half what it is for larger ones, to ensure small towns with fewer resources can still get their roads paved. Greensburg Representative Randy Frye says the structure of the program represents a long-overdue consideration for rural Indiana, and vows he’ll “fight tooth and nail” against any attempt to reduce rural communities’ share. Pressel notes his district includes lots of rural territory too. He says he’s not trying to reduce their share, but says legislators should look at whether the grants can be made more proportional.
Hendricks County Engineer John Ayers is urging legislators to consider another change, to set aside a portion of the fund for projects with regional impact. He says the current extension of Ronald Reagan Parkway is one of several projects statewide which doesn’t fit neatly into existing programs.