Senate President Pro Tem David Long says it’s unlikely the General Assembly will include any local funding in legislation freeing up transportation dollars.
In last year’s budget, the General Assembly put aside 400 million dollars into a transportation fund to be used for major projects in the future. In response to a request by the governor, proposed legislation this session would release at least some of the money to the executive branch for construction now.
The House included about 25 million dollars for local road construction needs, but the Senate stripped it out. Still, Senator Long notes that the legislature appropriated 100 million dollars a year in last year’s budget.
“It used to be we’d slip it into the budget if we could afford it but we’ve made a commitment to permanently give a revenue stream to local governments," Long says, "which has been quite meaningful.”
Valparaiso Republican Representative Ed Soliday, who inserted the local roads portion into this year’s bill, says the House isn’t giving up on including local money.
“If we don’t get it this year we’ll be back again because we got about a hundred million a year," Soliday says, "but just to maintain what we got is probably eight hundred million.”
House and Senate lawmakers will have a hearing Monday morning to discuss the legislation.