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 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.