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LETTER: Lawmakers must act to fund infrastructure

December 24, 2016

Roadways, runways, rail lines and waterways are the lifeblood of logistics. A world-class infrastructure is vital to the movement of products and the future economic prosperity of Indiana. By 2035, freight is projected to double according to the United States Department of Transportation. Indiana’s current transportation network cannot support that volume without significant investment by the General Assembly and the governor-elect.

According to Conexus Indiana, the state of Indiana needs approximately $1.4 billion in additional state revenue per year for 20 years in order to address all of the infrastructure network improvements needed by 2035. And Gov. Mike Pence’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Transportation Infrastructure and the business community have identified a minimum need of $1.1 billion per year to complete vital maintenance and added capacity projects.

How does the General Assembly come up with the money to pay for this [Lawmakers grappling with state road-funding strategy, IBJ.com, Nov. 16]? First and foremost, the sales tax on gasoline is a user fee that should be dedicated to our highways and bridges and not diverted to the state’s general fund. The state should adjust the gas tax for inflation and for the loss of fuel efficiency. These revenue options would generate approximately $600 million per year. That leaves an additional $500 million per year that is needed. The Funding Indiana’s Roads for a Stronger Safer Tomorrow Task Force just provided their revenue-generating recommendations and they need to be given serious consideration by the 2017 General Assembly and the governor-elect.

We ask the General Assembly and governor-elect to consider the above-mentioned revenue recommendations and to consider all other FIRSST Task Force recommendations that get us to the needed additional $1.4 billion per year for the next 20 years.

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Fritz Kauffman, senior director
Cushman & Wakefield

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