With an eye toward the future, John Gregg, Democratic candidate for governor unveiled a comprehensive, fiscally responsible plan to invest $3.2 billion in Indiana’s infrastructure over the next 10 years, without raising taxes.
Announced at the Gary/Chicago International Airport, the Gregg/Hale Infrastructure Plan addresses both the short and long-term needs of the state’s crumbling infrastructure network and repurposes existing state dollars to make new investments in the state’s roads, airports, railroads and maritime ports that will generate an estimated 54,600 new Hoosier jobs.
“This plan represents a long-term intermodal infrastructure strategy for Indiana,” said Gregg, a former university president and House speaker. “We have so many opportunities that we are missing. While interest rates are so low, let’s utilize some of the existing dollars the state has squirreled away to not only repair roads and bridges, but to make strategic investments that will spur business growth and improve the quality of life in communities statewide.”
Specifically, the Gregg/Hale plan includes:
- Creating the Hoosier State Infrastructure Bank to Support Local Projects. Under the Gregg/Hale plan, $200 million from the existing $500 million Next Generation Trust Fund would be used to establish the Hoosier State Infrastructure Bank (HSIB). Modeled after New Jersey’s Local Aid Infrastructure Fund, the HSIB will act as a revolving loan fund supplying low-interest loans to support high priority local projects. Eligible projects include local roads, bridges or other infrastructure repair work, new construction, planning fees and projects that improve a community’s quality of life including bike paths, sidewalks, mass transit and building broadband access and capacity. These funds would be provided in addition to what is already distributed to local governments.
- $3 Billion in Long-Term Funding for State and Local Projects. To begin addressing Indiana’s long term infrastructure needs, the Gregg/Hale plan calls for using the remaining balance in the Next Generation Trust Fund, or $300 million, to leverage bonds of up to $3 billion for new local and state projects that are critical to future economic growth and development. The bonds will be paid by future federal highway distribution dollars.
- Establishing an Infrastructure Roundtable with Private Sector Experts. As governor, Gregg will establish a permanent board composed of industry experts and charge them with researching long-term state and local infrastructure needs. The board will develop long-term recommendations on repairs, new builds and financing options; review the Indiana Department of Transportation’s organizational structure and make recommendations for improvements; create a statewide infrastructure inventory to help prioritize future replacements and identify funding; establish a formula for deciding the optimal time for road and bridge repair and; create a statewide repair and resurfacing plan based on this information.
- Greater Transparency and an Open, Searchable Infrastructure Database. As a part of the Gregg/- Hale administration commitment to open government, Gregg will instruct INDOT to include various GIS maps, databases and other related information on the state’s open data portal so Hoosiers can search by road or bridge name to see the condition of the asset.
- Increasing Intermodal Opportunities. The Gregg/Hale administration will create a temporary commission of intermodal experts to study the needs of businesses not met in other states and develop a plan for building the capacity to bring more infrastructure, economic investment and jobs to Indiana, including additional rail lines throughout and investments in the state’s ports.
- Return Local Control, Resources to Local Government. In addition to low interest loans available through the HSIB, a Gregg/- Hale administration will designate a portion of the money in the HSIB for locals grants, distributed on the basis of need. It will encourage local governments to “swap” federal dollars with state dollars giving them much needed flexibility in local road and bridge budgets.
- Addressing Indiana’s Long Term Water Needs. Understanding that Indiana will need at least an additional $16 billion over the next 20 years to fix our outdated water infrastructure, a Gregg/Hale administration will begin by mapping and prioritizing the state’s needs and providing local governments access to the HSIB for water infrastructure improvement projects. The Gregg/Hale campaign will be outlining a more detailed strategy for tackling this unique crisis later this summer.
“Neglecting our infrastructure for so long has not only hurt Hoosier families that have had to foot the bill for expensive vehicle repairs, it has impacted our businesses and made Indiana a less desirable and efficient place to grow and create jobs,” added Hale, a former executive with Kiwanis International. “We can turn that around, but it’s going to take new leadership, new priorities and a willingness to work across the aisle. John Gregg and I are ready to do that.”
For more information on John Gregg, Christina Hale or their campaign visit www.greggforgovernor.com or call 317-231-7100.