Indiana to land $8.8 billion from U.S. infrastructure bill

Roughly $8.8 billion from the federal $1.2 trillion infrastructure package should head to Indiana over the next five years to improve crumbling highways, roads, bridges and more.

One Indiana project likely to be expedited as a result is widening interstates 65 and 70 to six lanes the full length and breadth of the state.

President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Monday. It will deliver $550 billion of federal investments in the United States’ infrastructure over the next five years, touching everything from bridges and roads to broadband, water and energy systems.

A good chunk of the nearly $9 billion Indiana is getting will go to repairing roads, highways and bridges through the Indiana Department of Transportation.

About $6.6 billion will be allocated for federal-aid highway programs, according to a fact sheet from the White House that outlined funding for each state, based on expected federal funding formulas. About $400 million is also dedicated to bridge repair and replacement.

INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness said the state hopes to put the federal funds toward some long-awaited projects on INDOT’s radar that have not had the funding to get off the ground.

Moving to the top of that list will likely be widening the full lengths of both Interstate 65 and Interstate 70 in Indiana. Those are the two most-traveled highways in the state, McGuinness said.

Interstate construction will only ramp up in Indiana once the state gets $6.6 billion to work on highways and bridges. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

“We realize that we’re the crossroads of America, and there’s a lot of freight, there’s a lot of people passing through our state … . We want to encourage more of that,” he said.

Joe McGuinness

That’s the only specific project in mind now, he said, as INDOT waits to receive the 2,000-page bill to understand what exactly is eligible for funding. McGuinness would also like to use the cash to fund projects to make roads safer for drivers and for road-construction workers.

INDOT already gets $1 billion in federal funding each year through extensions of the FAST Act passed by Congress in 2015. That money typically makes up a third of the department’s yearly budget—this year’s being around $3.6 billion. So, McGuinness expects the infrastructure bill to add $115 million to $116 million to that budget each of the next five years.

“We’re aggressive with our project funding and we aren’t just going to sit around and collect tax dollars and sit there, you know. We’re going to provide services,” he said.

Brian Gould

Brian Gould, executive director of the Build Indiana Council, said the infrastructure bill could allow INDOT to dole out more money for local road projects, especially in the growing doughnut counties surrounding Indianapolis. He also suggested money be used to repair the Ohio River bridge in Evansville.

“Roads have a lifespan, whether it’s an interstate or a Main Street through a downtown,” Gould said. “We’ve seen the road infrastructure system as a whole has really been kind of neglected.”

On top of the $7 billion for roads and bridges, Indiana will get money to improve and expand other forms of physical infrastructure. In transportation, the state is expected to get around $680 million to improve public transit and $170 million to develop airport infrastructure, all money that will be allocated through INDOT.

Infrastructure funding also will provide $100 million to improve statewide broadband coverage, and $20 million to protect against cyberattacks. Another $751 million is set aside to improve aging water infrastructure systems statewide.

These new dollars aren’t intended for projects under construction now, but for ones on the back burner. INDOT, for example, already has a fully funded seven-year strategy for various projects like the I-69 expansion to Indianapolis and the ongoing I-65 North Split reconstruction.

“We kind of have our seven-year plan already baked, if you will, but there are projects that we would love to have [in] a seven-year plan, but we just didn’t have the money to do them. And so, we’ll be able to go back in and grab some of those projects,” McGuinness said.

Indiana U.S. Democratic Reps. André Carson and Frank Mrvan voted in favor of the infrastructure bill, while all Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation voted against it.

Kevin Brinegar

But the typically conservative Indiana Chamber of Commerce voiced strong support for the bill. President and CEO Kevin Brineger told IBJ the entire package will benefit Indiana’s economic development.

“Infrastructure is critical for economic development, for economic competitiveness. On the global stage, the chamber has been advocating for new federal infrastructure legislation for over a decade,” Brineger said.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb also expressed support for the package after its passage, citing how the funds will add to investments Indiana is already making, from $270 million in state grants to expand broadband access to a $500 million investment in the READI regional community investment program.

“Any additional funds Indiana receives from the federal government will be used to continue the state’s trajectory of improving our infrastructure, which is the foundation in growing an even stronger economy,” Holcomb said in a written statement.

The ongoing I-65/I-70 North Split reconstruction already has earmarked funds; the new influx of federal dollars will be used for projects that had been relegated to the back burner. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

Indiana will also get about $100 million to expand the state’s electric vehicle charging network, an industry Holcomb’s administration has recently shown it wants to take advantage of. Indiana will have a chance to compete for an additional $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging, according to the fact sheet.

Holcomb joined the governors of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin in October to sign a memorandum of understanding to create REV Midwest, or the Regional Electric Vehicle Coalition, to get an advantage when competing for that funding.

A focus of the coalition is to make it easier for drivers to find charging stations for their electric vehicles along key corridors in the Midwest. It also will work to promote clean energy and mobility manufacturing, grow the region’s share of electric vehicle production, and elevate access to tools required to equip the workforce.

“That definitely gives us a leg up to say, ‘Look, we have a plan here to provide continuity for electric vehicle drivers [so] that they know when they purchase a vehicle, and they live in Wisconsin, that they can drive through, you know, Illinois, Indiana and have a charging system the entire way,’” Gould said.•

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27 thoughts on “Indiana to land $8.8 billion from U.S. infrastructure bill

  1. So all republicans voted against a bill that will allow significant and necessary transportation infrastructure improvements. This does not make sense. Tomfoolery and hypocrisy. Further embarrassment to accompany past unnecessary mean-spirited sophomoric tweets.

    It’s quite odd considering certain GOP representatives support the South Shore rail improvements and the $900 million 8-mile rail extension in northwest Indiana.

    Infrastructure improvement is necessary and benefits all. That the GOP did not vote for the bill is astounding and, apparently, an act of cultism that defies common sense. These legislators need to explain why they voted against infrastructure improvements. These legislators need to explain what they have done to ensure Indiana and citizens in the state benefit from the infrastructure bill. These legislators need to state if funds might be lost due to their votes against the bill.

    Can one assume that infrastructure improvements will move the state into communism or socialism as asserted loudly by some GOP representatives. Is this socialism akin to Social Security and Medicare, or grants and scholarships for college students, or redistribution of taxes for overall benefits related to schools and services. Is it not socialism that allows for parks, and roadways, and streetlights for common benefit?

    That Indiana is receiving any money is great. But one could opine in grand GOP recalcitrant style that funding should only be allocated to areas represented by those who voted for the infrastructure package. Mercifully, that will not likely be the case.

    Representatives should work for the benefit of all citizens and not just blindly tow a party line.

    Certainly 3 lanes for I-65 and I-70 across the state would be welcome. The sooner, the better. Despite the sad response and lack of clarification from the some state representation in Washington, benefits will flow to Indiana. The greatest problem in Washington are some of the people sent there.

    1. Thank you. I hope the IBJ asks every Indiana Congressman and Senator why they voted against the bill?

    2. I can barely tolerate the GOP voted en masse against the bill. But for goodness sake, please take zero credit for the dollars flowing in. Just shut your pile hole.

    3. There is a lot more to this bill than highway spending. Maybe those who voted against it are opposed to the federal takeover of childcare, which, as it is structured in this bill, is likely to reduce its availability while increasing overall cost.

  2. Senators Braun and Young also voted against the infrastructure bill. Anyone voting for them and the House GOP members shouldn’t use these roads, bridges etc.

    The reason they voted against is because they feared the wrath of the evil corrupt hypocrite pathological liar, hater, insurrectionist, con man, budget deficit buster Donald Trump.

  3. Since we are getting all this money to improve and expand roads, how about focusing on improving over expanding?

    We don’t need more roads. We need the roads we have to be built better and not require such frequent maintenance.

    1. I-65 and I-70 definitely need expanding to three lanes each direction through their entire length in Indiana. The 18-wheelers on these interstates clog the existing two lanes, frustrating and aggravating everyone else trying to reach their destinations.

    2. I would add in tolling i-65 and I-70 for semi traffic that goes THROUGH downtown Indianapolis, while encouraging through semi traffic to take I-465 for free.

      If you want to drive your semi through downtown Indy, you should pay mightily. There has to be a way with the same license plate cameras used at the Indiana/Kentucky bridge to do this.

  4. I just hope that with a minimum of three lanes on 65 and 70 that INDOT will have enough sense to ban all trucks from the far left lane, and that the State Police will actually enforce the same.

    During the North Split project, through trucks have been routed around 465 on the south side. Between Emerson Ave. and 70 on the east side, there are several overpasses too steep for trucks to maintain speed. Inevitably a semi pulls into the 3rd lane and causes an immediate slowdown to 35 or 40, and an accordion-crunch backup. Almost daily this causes crashes.

    ISP need to enforce the “no left lane bandit” law during this project and the forthcoming construction of the new 465/69 interchange on the southwest side.

    1. Indiana already has a law banning semis in left lane if the highway has more than 2 lanes. Of course, this is essentially useless if never enforced.

  5. I hope that improvements to 465 might be included too as part of this. While it is experiencing higher traffic due to the north split construction right now, the section between 865 and Allisonville on the north side and between Washington St. and 65 on the east/south side should be made into 4 lanes of travel. These areas were highly conjested before work started.

  6. Not a fan of widening the highways across the state. That’s just more infrastructure to maintain down the road, and will likely induce even more demand. I’m concerned (but not surprised) that it’s the only specific project for INDOT at this time.

    Other than that, I can agree with the other goals here.

  7. “Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb also expressed support for the package after its passage, citing how the funds will add to investments Indiana is already making, from $270 million in state grants to expand broadband access to a $500 million investment in the READI regional community investment program.”

    But did the governor pick up the phone and advocate to all the Indiana Republicans in Washington to vote for the legislation? I doubt he did, failing to exhibit leadership for the improvement of our state. Sad.

  8. The Democrats may have a monopoly on making the process of governing look messy and chaotic, but the GOP, or the party of “NOP(e)” has been on the wrong side of every transformative innovative and social program since the Great Depression: The New Deal, The Great Society, Civil Rights Reform, Medicare, the Space Program, The 2008 Economic Recovery Act, The Affordable Care Act, and now the American Jobs Plan/Infrastructure Bill. Maybe this track record and legacy of success in delivering critical services and programs to the citizens who actually like them and who now find them indispensable will open the eyes of Republican Legislators to the value and responsibility of putting the people they serve first, not just party leadership. Maybe Senate Republicans can catch on quickly enough to give their constituents what they are asking for and to break a cycle of letting history pass them by, breaking ranks and voting for the Build Back Better Bill as well.

  9. The GOP in 2017 voted on a partisan basis tax cuts which 83% benefited the top 1% of incomes. The CBO estimated that it would increase the deficit $1.4 trillion at the time the bill was passed.

    Whenever the GOP complains about the Dems increasing the deficit remember the GOP tax cuts under Reagan, Bush and Trump did nothing but increase the deficit.

    Bush ran the deficit to over $1 trillion per year. Obama reduced the deficit to $1/2 Trillion per year. Trump increased it back over $1Trillion per year and Trump increased the deficit $7.8 Trillion in 4 years. That’s 28% of the cumulative deficit of $28 trillion.

    The Dems put the government money in the hands that need it for infrastructure health and education. The GOP puts the money into the greedy rich people.

    Trump did nothing for health care, education or climate change. These are all policies the majority of Americans favor.

    1. We are 29 trillion dollars in debt not because of parties, we are 29 trillion dollars in debt because we can print unlimited money. The hidden tax of inflation, where irresponsible spending steals the money that is in the pockets of US Taxpayers.
      We have a DC problem that us wrought with fraud, waste and corruption.
      Keep the 9 billion in Indiana ad don’t send it to the DC scoundrels!

    2. List the fraud, waste, and corruption. A reminder, most of our money is spent on the old, the poor, and the military. Unless you want to cut in one of those categories you’re unlikely to make any impact.

      Also a reminder, our debt goes up not only when we spend too much (blame the Democrats), it also goes up when we don’t collect enough (blame the Republicans).

      Last reminder, 93% of incumbents won re-election. It’s fun to blame Mitch McConnell or Nancy Pelosi for all our problems, but we here in Indiana sent Andre Carson and Jim Banks and Greg Pence back to Washington to do … exactly what for us? And they’ll all be sent back in 2022.

  10. “…there’s a lot of people passing through our state … . We want to encourage more of that”

    Instead, let’s build and a great state people want to STAY in and invest in. Making us into the greatest drive-through state/trucking route does not serve our communities.

    1. That’s INDOT! They don’t understand that all those trucks passing thru the State isn’t really a good thing. In fact, if vehicle congestion forces logistics firms to better utilize rail instead of trucks, that makes the roads less congested for Hoosier drivers. Instead, let’s invest in projects that improve the lives of Hoosiers!

  11. Amazing how our congressmen will spin how much they helped on this valuable legislation, especially when all Republicans voted against. How can they legitimately and truthfully explain turning their backs on the state that employs them. All should be fired as they are NOT representing our state or citizens.
    These funds will benefit all of our state for a number of years. Thank you to those who really care!

  12. Can you spell P-O-R-K? Indiana is receiving seven tenths of one percent of the 1.2 trillion. (0.0073). Indiana has 2% of the nations population (6,785,528 of the total 334,735,155). If Indiana were to receive an “equitable” per capita “fair share” of the 1.2 trillion $ we would receive 24 Billion $ or roughly THREE TIMES what we are to receive. Of course Indiana is a “red state”. Before all you PORK GRUBBERS get all giddy about Indiana receiving 8.8 billion $, you should do the math and DEMAND EQUITY! This is a perfect example of why tax and spend policies are wrong. The government picks the winners and losers, and in this specific case, INDIANA IS A LOSER. All you giddy PORK GRUBBERS need to understand that more of your tax dollars from Indiana are going to be wasted/spent on projects/infrastructure in other states … probably mostly in New York, California and Illinois … than in the state of Indiana where the tax revenue was generated. DEMAND EQUITY!!!

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