STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Holcomb announces $1B infrastructure spending plan

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced plans Tuesday to pump an additional $1 billion into infrastructure projects across Indiana, money that will be raised through massive fee increases on heavy-duty commercial vehicles that use the Indiana Toll Road.

Posted: Sep 5, 2018 9:32 AM

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Gov. Eric Holcomb announced plans Tuesday to pump an additional $1 billion into infrastructure projects across Indiana, money that will be raised through massive fee increases on heavy-duty commercial vehicles that use the Indiana Toll Road.

Dubbed the "Next Level Connections" program, the money comes from a renegotiated agreement with the company that operates the tollway. Under the new terms, which still need final perfunctory approval from the Indiana Finance Authority, rates charged on vehicles with three or more axles will increase by 35 percent beginning in October.

Democrats charge that amounts to a tax increase for the trucking industry, though Holcomb stressed that the new fees will not apply to drivers of passenger cars and would bring Indiana in-line with what other nearby states charge.

It's unclear how much the toll road operator, Indiana Toll Road Concession Company, stands to make under the deal. Holcomb said the company will pay the state the $1 billion in three separate installments over the next couple years.

"Today we're sending a big message to the world that Indiana is making a huge investment in our quality of life and for those who aspire to join us," said Holcomb. "We are linking Hoosiers to each other and to the world."

Like much of the country, Indiana has struggled to keep up with maintenance on its aging infrastructure. Last year, Republicans who dominate the Statehouse — and have cut taxes on the wealthy in recent years — increased the fuel tax by 10 cents per gallon to help pay for improvements to the state's crumbling roadways.

The latest move Holcomb is eyeing will put even more money into infrastructure, which he said is needed to keep the state economically competitive. As a manufacturing-intensive state, well-maintained infrastructure is needed to move those goods.

Holcomb's program includes:

— $600 million to speed up completion of Interstate 69, a failed privatization project by then-Gov. Mike Pence that the state took over after the first contractor struggled with mismanagement and work stoppages.

— $190 million for projects on U.S. Routes 20, 30 and 31, where new interchanges will be added to reduce the number of traffic lights between Indianapolis and South Bend.

— $100 million to boost rural broadband access.

— $20 million to lure new direct flight routes to the state's airports.

— $90 million for improving hiking and biking trails.

While Holcomb's proposal was praised by GOP Statehouse leaders, Democrats argue that the deal lacks transparency, wasn't properly vetted and includes far too many unknowns.

"We have no idea of the effect this 35-percent increase in tolls for heavy vehicles will have on industries within the toll road corridor or upon the employees who work for them," said Democratic Sen. David Niezgodski, whose district includes a chunk of the toll road around South Bend. "Legislators and industry officials were supposed to study this issue thoroughly and weren't given that opportunity."

West Lafayette
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 52°
Kokomo
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 42°
Rensselaer
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 45°
Fowler
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 45°
Williamsport
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 43°
Crawfordsville
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 42°
Frankfort
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 43°
Delphi
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 47°
Monticello
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 47°
Logansport
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 48°
Below normal temperatures & patches of frost in the north & northeast.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 108646

Reported Deaths: 3478
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20341757
Lake10013312
Elkhart6198106
St. Joseph586796
Allen5785198
Hamilton4600109
Vanderburgh318126
Hendricks2607120
Monroe224336
Johnson2241122
Tippecanoe211313
Clark205056
Porter197843
Cass19209
Delaware180159
Vigo169621
Madison153075
LaPorte134837
Floyd127961
Howard125163
Kosciusko116717
Bartholomew113257
Warrick104134
Marshall97423
Boone93846
Dubois92118
Hancock89242
Noble86432
Grant85132
Henry73424
Jackson7259
Wayne72214
Morgan68038
Shelby65529
LaGrange62811
Daviess61627
Dearborn61428
Clinton59111
Harrison54824
Putnam5098
Lawrence49928
Montgomery49421
White47114
Knox4659
Decatur44739
Gibson4344
DeKalb42511
Miami4202
Greene40935
Fayette40413
Jasper3732
Scott34410
Steuben3447
Sullivan32612
Jennings30512
Franklin29225
Posey2900
Clay2855
Orange27924
Ripley2768
Carroll26713
Wabash2547
Washington2491
Whitley2456
Wells2422
Starke2387
Jefferson2363
Adams2303
Fulton2292
Tipton21522
Huntington2073
Randolph2047
Perry20014
Spencer1984
Jay1640
Newton16411
Owen1621
Martin1560
Rush1484
Pike1331
Vermillion1210
Fountain1152
Pulaski1121
Blackford1072
Crawford980
Brown933
Parke902
Benton880
Union760
Ohio757
Switzerland660
Warren381
Unassigned0225

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events