Our Guest Speaker this evening was Representative Mike Speedy of the Indiana House of Representatives, District 90. Mike is the Vice Chairman of the Roads and Transportation Committee. He is also on the Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications, and Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee.
We asked Mike to join us to provide incite on Roads and Transportation for the State of Indiana. Spending a lot of time discussing House Bill 1002. He explained the budget as being a long term sustainable formula for repairing and maintaining Indiana roads.
We discussed the challenges the State has incurred over the years. Primarily, the main funding for roads came from a gas tax. Leading to challenges such as fuel efficiency for vehicles continues to improve over time and the increase in production of electric vehicles. Downtown development has continued to grow, causing more people to alleviate the use of a personal motor vehicle, as well as in other major cities throughout Indiana.
Mike explained to use the various studies that were conducted in order to determine what Indiana requires in funding in order to provide a long term sustainable solution. Speaking with other states, major cities, and towns discussing options they have implemented. The studies included opinions from corporations such as vehicle manufactures, transportation and logistics companies, IN-DOT, and the Blue Ribbon Panel.
"Roads are essential to a thriving economy." - Representative Mike Speedy
Currently, Indiana spends $1.5 billion on State roads, $1 billion on local roads and is returned $1 billion from the federal government. The projected cost is an additional $1.2 billion based on the research provided by the various think tanks. Posing the question, how to raise $1.2 billion?
Budget Cut? A 3% cut across the entire budget only produces 1/3 of the required $1.2 billion.
Mike explained three of the most common ways to fund roads: borrowing the money, neglecting the responsibility, and a use based system. The first one, which he does not agree with, borrowing the money does not work because the duration of the bond is longer than the age a road can last. An average bond is 30 years, while the average road only last 15 years. The second, is to neglect the roads, this is simply not responsible and not a valid option for Mike Speedy. The third, is Mike's preference, to use a pay as you go type system, such as an increase in the gas tax for citizens that has not changed since 2003 and businesses that has not changed since 1988, or an increase use of toll roads throughout the State.
"If we pay for better roads, we will pay less for vehicle maintenance" - Representative Mike Speedy
Towards the end of his time speaking Mike took various questions from individuals at the club meeting about how we are affected at the local level. Of all the billions of dollars spent it is funneled down to the local levels where City and Country Councilors decide how to spend it. So the next time you have a suggestion for a road, bridge, or sidewalk near you, be sure to contact your local councilor to express your concern.
For information on finding your Councilor - Use this >> http://wayeo.egis.39dn.com/#
Thank you Mike Speedy for your time this evening.