An alternate plan to repair streets

Keywords Opinion

Mayor Ballard is criss-crossing Indy promoting Rebuild Indy 2.0 to make street, road, curb and sidewalk improvements. I agree; we need to make critical investment in our infrastructure. And quickly.

But the mayor is being pretty quiet about the fact that he wants to put much of the cost on the city’s maxed-out credit card.

The mayor’s plan has the hallmarks of a payday loan—a loan that must be paid back over the next 30 years. Taxpayers in 2034 will still be paying for the repaving done today, and the streets will have already cracked and been replaced.

The mayor’s $150 million bond project will actually cost $300 million after all the interest is paid. It’s a bad deal to pay as much in interest as we’d be getting in new sidewalks.

Borrowing to fix potholes and roads is not sustainable. Fortunately, we can act today to address today’s infrastructure issues without taking on massive new debt.

Totaling all available sources, including the remaining balance from Rebuild Indy 1.0, money available in the transportation general fund, an additional $9 million annually from the wheel tax—combined with money our city already plans to spend across 2014, 2015 and 2016—Indianapolis has nearly $200 million. All that money is available for infrastructure over the next three years with no new debt.

Why would we create three decades of burdensome debt and pay interest instead of using cash?

Frank Mascari
City-County Council, District 20

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