Council OKs plan to issue $120M in debt to pay for road, bridge repairs

The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday evening unanimously approved Mayor Joe Hogsett’s proposal to take on an additional $120 million in debt over the next three years to pay for infrastructure spending.

Under the plan, which was previously approved by the council’s public works committee, the city will issue $30 million in debt this year, $40 million in debt next year, and $50 million in 2020. 

The debt, which would be secured by future revenue the city expects to receive from county option vehicle taxes and the increased gas tax, would be on the books for 20 years.

The city says the projects that would be funded by the debt are only those that will last a long time, as opposed to street resurfacing that needs to be done every few years. 

Examples such long-term projects include curbs, sidewalks, ADA-accessible ramps, bridge repair and replacement, and street rehabilitation and reconstruction.

The full council, which now consists of 24 members after Republican Jeff Miller's resignation in August, approved the proposal after little discussion.

Council Minority Leader Mike McQuillen asked about “making sure that all the projects, or the vast, vast majority of projects, do outlast the life of the bond.”

Council Vice President Zach Adamson said the average life of all the projects exceeds the period of the bond. Some of the projects, Adamson said, even had 50-year lifespans.

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