Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) heard about four hours of testimony on HB 1001, the bill that would create additional long-term, dedicated and stable funding for state and local roads and bridges. BIC supports HB 1001 and testified at the hearing. Chairman Kenley did not take a vote on the bill.
House Roads and Transportation Chairman Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) presented the bill and described the data-driven rationale used to create the comprehensive road funding plan.
Next, the author of the legislatively mandated Cambridge Systematics Study that was released last summer described the need for additional INDOT funding. INDOT Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson then described how INDOT is preparing for the possibility of additional funding being approved this year by the General Assembly.
After INDOT’s testimony, road funding advocates began testifying in support of HB 1001. Supporters included county elected officials and highway engineers, mayors, agricultural interests, logistics industry representatives, the state chamber and organized labor. Also, anti-smoking advocates testified in favor due to the cigarette tax increase. And, for the same reason, tobacco retailers and an anti-tax advocate testified against the bill.
At the end of the hearing, Chairman Kenley simply adjourned the meeting.
So, what happens next? Senate Republican leaders have not yet determined how or if to proceed with the bill. They have two weeks to move the bill out of committee. During that time, the Build Indiana Council lobbying team will be working to impress upon all Senators the importance of passing long-term road funding solutions this year.
What we need you to do: Contact your state senator. Here is a contact list. If you don’t know who your senator is, you can use the lookup tool here. Let your Senator know that the time is right to pass a long-term solution. Many Senators are saying they agree something needs to be done, but want to wait until next year. Tell your Senator that waiting will only make the needs greater. Our state and local roads, streets and bridges need improvements now. Waiting another year to address this on a long-term basis will not serve any useful purpose.
Contact your Senator and ask him or her to support HB 1001. Then, contact the BIC office, and let us know what your Senator had to say.
Thank you for taking the time to contact your Senator. This is important, and we need everyone to pitch in to get this done. You can make a difference.