BIC Matters: Senate Committee Passes Road Funding Bill

TO: BIC Grassroots Network
FROM: Vicki Kitchin, Executive Director
DATE: March 28, 2017

SUBJECT: Senate Committee Passes Road Funding Bill

This morning the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee, chaired by Senator Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) significantly amended HB 1002 before passing it on a vote of 11-2. All Republicans in attendance voted in favor as did two Democrats (Senators Randolph and Tallian).

The official fiscal impact statement is not yet available. However, BIC’s preliminary analysis estimates the amended bill would result in about $670 million annually in new funds for Indiana road and bridge improvements. The amendment directs most of the new funds to INDOT with approximately $90 million per year going to locals through a grant program. Other than this local grant program, locals are held to 2017 levels plus inflation going forward. Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) said that the committee believes that this amount satisfactorily addresses the local need when factoring in locals’ ability to raise their own revenue.

The amended bill includes the following new revenue provisions:

  • Ten cent gas tax increase phased in over two years;
  • Six cent diesel tax increase phased in over two years;
  • Ten cent diesel surcharge increase phased in over two years and moved to pump;
  • New vehicle registration fee of $15 per year;
  • 50% increase in commercial vehicle registration fees and International Registration Plan registration fees;
  • New $5 per tire fee;
  • New $75 fee for hybrid vehicles;
  • Allows the Governor through Indiana Finance Authority and INDOT to pursue tolling.

Chairman Hershman and Senator Kenley noted that the sales tax on gasoline, which the House had moved to the highway accounts, will be considered as part of the Senate’s budget bill. That discussion will take place later this week in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

BOTTOM LINE: BIC applauds the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee for passing amended HB 1002. While the bill does not increase road funding as much as the House version did, and while it does not provide adequate funds for local roads and bridges, it does provide the opportunity for the Senate, House and Governor to reach agreement on a long-term road funding package. Those negotiations in these next four weeks of session will lead to further modifications of this bill.

If you have a member on the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee, please thank your Senator for moving the bill forward.

Next steps: HB 1002 could be eligible for further amendment on the Senate floor as soon as this Thursday, and a vote by the full Senate could come next week, although we can’t be certain it will move that fast. In fact, much will hinge on the Senate version of the budget (HB 1001) which the Appropriations Committee will consider this Thursday.

Stay tuned for more information and call if you have any questions.

BIC MATTERS: Sen. Long Talks about Senate Action on Road Funding

TO: BIC Grassroots Network
FROM: Vicki Kitchin, Executive Director
DATE: March 23, 2017

BIC MATTERS: Sen. Long Talks about Senate Action on Road Funding

Want to know what the Senate is thinking about road funding? Watch the first eight minutes of this video as Senate President Pro Tempore David Long talks about pending senate action on a road funding package: This was his weekly wrap-up with statehouse media earlier today. (If you have trouble with the video link, you can find it on Twitter @INSenateGOP.)

Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy to Hear HB 1002 Next Week
The Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee will hear HB 1002 for the second time on Tuesday, March 28. At this meeting the Committee will amend and vote on the bill. BIC’s lobbying team and our coalition partners are talking with leadership about the importance of maintaining the HB 1002 funding levels for the long-term.

ACTION REQUIRED: It is critical that you encourage your senator to support actions that will provide the $1.2 billion additional annual funding over the next twenty years for state and local roads and bridges, as contained in HB 1002. Please contact your senator by end of day Monday, March 27 and contact BIC with feedback.

Our coalition Toolbox contains a list of all senators’ contact information, or check out the list for the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee.

Town Hall Update
This week’s list includes meetings tomorrow (Friday) in South Bend, on Saturday in Mooresville, Tipton, Kewanna, Seymour, LaGrange, Otwell, on Sunday in Napoleon and on Monday in Danville. If you are from one of these communities, please attend and talk to your legislators about road funding. They need to hear local support.

Road Funding Day Success
Thank you to everyone who attended our coalition’s Road Funding Day at the Statehouse on March 21. About 90 persons made it their mission to meet with state senators and representatives and urge them to support HB 1002. Here are photos from the high-impact day.

With only about four weeks left in the legislative session, now is the time for everyone to stay in contact with legislators. Remember to contact BIC after you talk with them. Thanks for your support.

BIC MATTERS CALL TO ACTION: HB 1002 Up for Vote in Senate Tax Committee

TO: BIC Grassroots Network
FROM: Vicki Kitchin
DATE: March 16, 2017

BIC MATTERS: HB 1002 Up for Vote in Senate Tax Committee

Call to Action: If your Senator is a member of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee, contact him/her by end of day Monday, March 20. Ask your Senator to support HB 1002, which provides long-term, dedicated and stable funding for state and local road and bridge improvements. As passed by the House, the bill provides over $1.1 billion per year in additional new funding for INDOT and local governments.

Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee
Chairman Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) 317-232-9840
Ranking Member Travis Holdman (R-Markle) 317-232-9807
Sen. James Buck (R-Kokomo) 317-232-9466
Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) 317-232-9494
Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) 317-232-9488
Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) 317-232-9453
Sen. Ryan D. Mishler (R-Bremen) 317-232-9814
Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Centerville) 317-233-0930
Sen. James Smith (R-Charlestown) 317-234-9426
Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) 317-232-9984
Ranking Minority Member Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) 317-232-9847
Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) 317-232-9534
Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) 317-232-9532
Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) 317-232-9847

Senate Committee May Amend/Vote on HB 1002 Next Week
Senator Brandt Hershman, Chairman of the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee told committee members that they will likely amend and vote on HB 1002 next week (possibly Tuesday, March 21). His comment came at the end of a joint hearing on the bill with the Senate Transportation Committee where they heard about four hours of testimony earlier this week.

At that hearing, Representative Ed Soliday, Chairman of the House Roads and Transportation Committee and the bill author, kicked-off testimony. He emphasized that the House approach has come after six years of studying road needs in the state and evaluating the best methods of paying for improvements. He underscored the principles contained in HB 1002: it is data driven, sustainable and long-term.

INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness and Chief of Staff Chris Kiefer testified next. They illustrated the condition of state-maintained roads and bridges and the additional funding needed to prevent worsening conditions. They also discussed future projects for which no funding is available. They assured the committee that INDOT and industry have the capacity to handle any new funds that are authorized by the legislature with Commissioner McGuinness saying, “We are ready.”

The committee then heard from over 20 groups supporting HB 1002 and six groups opposing all or part of the bill. Detractors included representatives of anti-tax groups, petroleum marketers and convenience store owners. Proponents included BIC’s Dennis Faulkenberg, ACEC-IN’s John Brand, Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo, Tippecanoe County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh, and representatives from state and local chambers, organized labor, truckers, farmers, manufacturers, county officials, real estate and logistics.

Given that Chairman Hershman alerted the committee that they would likely amend and vote on HB 1002 next week, it is crucial that all members take part in the Call to Action noted above. After you talk with your Senator, send us an email and let us know what your Senator said.

Last Call to Register for Road Funding Day #2 on March 21
We need a strong turnout by BIC members next week for Road Funding Day on March 21 at the Statehouse. We have 80 registered – but we need 180! Show up anytime between 10 AM – 3 PM. Check in at our table on the 3rd floor of the statehouse. Pick up your talking points and then we’ll help you find your legislators. Your mission is to ask for their support in passing a long-term road funding package this session. We need a strong turnout for this event so that legislators hear support from back home. Register and see who else will be attending here: Road Funding Day on March 21.

Town Halls for this Weekend
This week’s list includes meetings tomorrow (Friday) in Kokomo, LaPorte and Valparaiso. On Saturday there are meetings in Staunton, Greencastle, Jeffersonville, Goshen, Lafayette and Monticello. Legislators tell us that having road funding supporters at these meetings is very helpful. Please take the time to show up and talk to your legislators.

Thanks and keep up the great work.

ICI Legislative Committee – It’s Halftime

We have reached halftime in the 2017 state legislative session. Coach ICI’s halftime speech to senators, considering the transportation funding bill passed through the house last week, would include:

  • Encouragement to not lose focus on our state transportation funding goal of sustainable long-term funding;
  • Don’t react to “shot fakes” – keep both feet on the ground to defend against attacks on this session’s road funding focus, and finally;
  • Work as team. If everyone does their job, Indiana will soon have streets, highways, and interstates worthy of our state motto: The Crossroads of America.

Back to reality, ICI staff and members met with representatives from APPIAN, 1816, Inc. and Build Indiana Council to discuss the first half of the 2017 legislative session and the initiatives moving down the home stretch. The consensus is that the first half of this session has been low key. High profile contentious social issues are not leading the agenda as in previous sessions. Transportation funding has been the talk of the Statehouse halls. The House passed its transportation funding bill, HB 1002, last week, and it’s now in the hands of the Senate where the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee chaired by Senator Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) will consider it. Currently HB 1002 includes a combination of funding mechanisms including a fuel tax increase, indexing of all fuel tax rates, transfer of $0.045 of the gasoline sales tax to the State Highway Fund, a $15 annual automobile registration fee and a $150 fee for all electric vehicles.

In addition to HB 1002, there are several non-funding bills we are actively working on or tracking. HB 1018 addresses vehicles that haul aggregate. The bill states that the vehicle, loaded or unloaded, shall be free from any openings that would allow material to escape. ICI is not in favor of this bill. It appears to target aggregate haulers and would allow law enforcement to stop trucks upon suspicion that material has fallen from any part of a vehicle.

Two other bills, HB 1447 and SB 295 address the points on CDL licenses that were assessed in 2016 due to a spring 2016 revision to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles points table. ICI supports the aim of the bills. They would provide relief for truck drivers that have been cited for driving an overweight truck without having full control over the material loaded in it. ICI staff and our lobbying team will continue to communicate with key lawmakers associated with these bills.

Finally, it was noted that Representative Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) has included language in his motor vehicle law catch-all bill to include surveyors and construction vehicles in the current “move over, slow down” law.

Build Indiana Council is planning a second Road Funding Day on March 21. Please register and plan to go to the Statehouse on that day to support road funding and communicate with your legislators!

BIC MATTERS – House Passes Long-term Road Funding Bill

TO: BIC Grassroots Network
FROM: Vicki Kitchin
DATE: February 16, 2017

BIC MATTERS: House Passes Long Term Road Funding Bill

House Passes HB 1002
Today, with a vote of 61-36, the Indiana House of Representatives passed HB 1002 which provides long-term, dedicated and stable funding for state and local roads and bridges. Roads and Transportation Chairman Ed Soliday explained the bill’s provisions, which include the following:

  • increases the gasoline tax, special fuels tax and motor carrier surcharge tax each by 10 cents to restore lost buying power since the taxes were last raised,
  • indexes all fuel tax rates annually using a formula that incorporates CPI-U and Indiana personal income growth (the indexing sunsets in 2024),
  • transfers the remaining 4.5 pennies of the sales tax on gasoline from the General Fund to the State Highway Fund,
  • implements a $15 annual statewide infrastructure improvement fee on all vehicles registered in Indiana,
  • implements a $150 annual statewide infrastructure improvement fee on all electric vehicles registered in Indiana and increases the current alternative fuel vehicle fee to $150,
  • requires INDOT to further study tolling and submit a waiver to the federal government to allow tolling on existing interstates (the first toll road implemented cannot be within 75 miles of an existing toll facility)
  • lowers the minimum population threshold applicable to the municipal wheel tax/surtax from 10,000 to 5,000.

HB 1002 would generate new road funding immediately with the amount gradually increasing each year. Click here for the latest fiscal analysis.

In a rare move, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma spoke on the floor in support of the bill. He emphasized that HB 1002 is the result of six years of study, relies on user fees and does not increase state debt. He thanked Chairman Soliday and Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown for their work on the bill.

After about one hour of debate, the House voted 61-36 to pass the bill. Seven House Republicans and all Democrats voted against the bill. You can see the vote sheet here.

BIC sincerely appreciates the House Republican leadership and all caucus members who voted in favor of HB 1002. We ask all members to contact your legislator with a “Thank You,” if he/she voted “Yes” on the bill today.

Next Steps
HB 1002 now goes to the Senate where its sponsors are Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) and Senator Michael Crider (R-Greenfield). We do not expect a Senate committee to hear the bill until sometime in March. Now is the time to reach out to your Senator and encourage their support of HB 1002.

Town Halls
Thanks to all of you who have been contacting legislators and attending town hall meetings. We ask that you continue to attend these meetings, express your support for House members who voted yes today and encourage your Senators to support it. This week’s list includes meetings in Bedford, Valparaiso, Orleans, Greencastle, Fort Wayne, Goshen, Spencer, Frankfort, Decatur, Berne, Veedersburg, Lafayette, West Lafayette, and Princeton.

Send BIC a note with feedback from these meetings. Remember, we have a long way to go in this process.

BIC MATTERS – Governor Eric Holcomb to Speak at Road Funding Day Event

TO: BIC Grassroots Network and Road Funding Partners
FROM: Vicki Kitchin
DATE: February 13, 2017

SUBJECT: BIC MATTERS – Governor Eric Holcomb to Speak at Road Funding Day Event

Road Funding Day February 21
We are pleased to announce that Governor Eric Holcomb will speak at our Road Funding Day briefing on February 21. Governor Holcomb caps an already high-profile list of speakers including Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, House Roads and Transportation Chairman Ed Soliday, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Luke Kenley and INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness.

With more than 215 road funding advocates planning to attend, along with over 25 state legislators, this is an event you don’t want to miss. Register today.

Update on HB 1002
Since the House Ways and Means Committee amended HB 1002 last week, the fiscal analysis has changed. The bill now moves all of the sales tax collected on fuel to the highway accounts in the first year, meaning INDOT’s share of the new funding is greatly increased in FY18. You can find an updated fiscal analysis of HB 1002 here.

HB 1002 is now eligible for action by the full House. The process includes “Second Reading” where legislators have an opportunity to further amend the bill, followed by “Third Reading” where the House will vote on the entire bill as amended. Please contact your member in the House of Representatives and ask for support of HB 1002. Find your legislator here.

Thanks for your continued advocacy and your feedback from local town hall meetings. Your involvement is critical to our legislative success.