WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — There was a lot of talk Wednesday about the future of the state’s infrastructure at the Purdue Road School. Purdue President and former Gov. Mitch Daniels spoke alongside current Gov. Eric Holcomb about the issue.
It’s the 103rd annual Purdue Road School and for some reason, today’s atmosphere made it feel different from those in the past. With local projects happening all around the area, many people want to know how Indiana is planning on beefing up infrastructure, and more importantly how they are going to pay for it.
“We’re talking about a 20-year plan, and it’s more than a $20 billion question,” Holcomb said.
Everyone was all ears as Holcomb and Daniels went over different options to help fund roads around the state.
While we are in a better position with our roads and bridges right now, than our neighboring states, if you stand still you are going to get passed up. What will our infrastructure program needs be in 15 to 20 years and that has to be a central focus.
One of the options that has been on the table this legislative session is increasing the gas tax. It’s something Tippecanoe County Highway Department’s Opal Kuhl agrees with.
“I think we need something we can use as more of a budget tool to do better planning in the future, instead of having a one-shot thing that will last a year,” Kuhl said.
That one-shot solution is in regards to the massive surplus Indiana has built up during both Daniels and Mike Pence’s time in office.
Holcomb said using that to fix roads is not an option right now.
“I am not one who wants to raid our rainy day fund for a one-time high and jeopardize our AAA credit rating,” Holcomb said. “I’m not one who wants to borrow and bond, and simply tax someone else in the future.
But in general, Holcomb and Kuhl are happy with how the state is doing, especially compared to neighboring states.
“It’s very good that we’ve had such a relationship over the years, and it helps move all of our projects together when we can work together,”Kuhl said.
Holcomb said, “There’s a couple things we like doing in Indiana and that’s competing and winning. And we’ve been doing it for a long time. Boiler Up!”
The feeling News 18 got from talking to people who were on hand for the conference was overwhelmingly positive. They said they look forward to the future.