Gregg, Simpson Introduce Plan to Strengthen Indiana Infrastructure
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana gubernatorial candidate John Gregg and lieutenant gubernatorial candidate State Senator Vi Simpson unveiled their plan to strengthen Indiana infrastructure today. The plan is part of Gregg and Simpson’s “Hoosier Handshake” plan that they have been unveiling throughout the year.
The plan gives Indiana potential access to $3.5 billion to spend on infrastructure projects throughout the state without dipping into existing reserves, and could create 97,300 Indiana jobs. This includes projects such as building and repairing roads, bridges and rail throughout the state while also making Indiana an intermodal crossroads for the transportation industry.
“Calling Indiana ‘The Crossroads of America’ is not just a catchy moniker for our state,” Gregg said. “It defines us, and the foundations of our economy as a vital hub in the global supply chain. As our economy grows, our infrastructure needs to grow as well. This will create good jobs now and build a foundation for Indiana’s economic development in the future.”
“Nearly all businesses in Indiana, large or small, local or global, rely on a robust transportation infrastructure to enable not only their growth, but their very survival. To compete globally, Hoosier businesses must be able to move freight via the fastest and most cost-effective mode of transportation over land, across the water and through the air.”
State Senator Vi Simpson added, “It is important to remember that when we talk about infrastructure, we are talking about quality jobs. We create quality jobs when we are building or improving our infrastructure, and we create jobs by having infrastructure in place that Hoosier companies can then use.”
“One thing that everyone can agree on is that we cannot afford to put this off. Too much of our economy depends on the infrastructure needed to ship Hoosier products across the globe. That is why I am proud to unveil our plan to keep Indiana on the move.”
Simpson continued, “Under our administration, we will ensure that Indiana invests wisely in the essential infrastructure that maintains and enhances our quality of life, allows our businesses and industries to operate efficiently, and keeps us connected to the economy of the future.”
The Gregg-Simpson plan would do the following:
Capitalize the Hoosier State Infrastructure Fund to $500 million. The fund will be based on the former, unfunded INBank, and like that entity will be a revolving loan fund, dedicated to providing low-interest and no-interest loans to Hoosier communities to help fund infrastructure projects identified as being a high economic priority.
To capitalize the HSIF, we will:
- Remove from the Motor Vehicle Highway Fund, for a period of two years, expenditures for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Revenue, and the State Police, and return these line items to the General Fund. This would free up $180 million per year to be deposited in the HSIF.
- Change the Next Generation Trust Fund statute to allow a portion of the fund to be transferred to the HSIF - bringing the total capitalization of the HSIF to $500 million.
Use the Next Generation Trust Fund balance to leverage private dollars to provide infrastructure seed money. Monies now languishing in the Trust Fund can be used to guarantee private funds for projects of significant state interest, or local projects with a significant economic development interest. These monies can be leveraged at ratio of $10 to $1, meaning that a $300 million guarantee could make available as much as $3 billion in seed dollars.
Streamline Deparment of Revenue Processes. The current distribution system is needlessly cumbersome - the chart explaining the allocation of funds has over 50 prongs - and leads to local funding getting backlogged in red tape. Simplifying collection and distribution will allow funds to get to counties faster and be invested in our economy more quickly.
Access more federal dollars and flexibility. We will combine multiple federal funding sources to allow the state to more flexibility meet our highest priority needs and make the money go as far as possible, while also increasing our share of the federal transportation allocation.
Ensure the state government uses business sense to make taxpayer dollars travel as far as possible. Indiana’s infrastructure needs are so significant that we cannot afford simply to go out and spend whatever it takes to build all of it. Instead, we need to look for ways to get the job done more cost-effectively and efficiently. As Governor, I’ll bring some business sense to all of state government, starting with two basic tools of private-sector efficiency and effectiveness: competition and cost/benefit analysis.
Move forward immediately on university construction projects that have already been approved. There are currently $227 million worth of projects which have already been approved for bonding by the Indiana General Assembly, most of which have also been approved by the joint Budget Committee, but have yet to released for bidding.
Build Indiana as the Intermodal Crossroads through:
- Flexing a portion of annual federal highway funds to other modes within the state if they can prove to provide better benefits for the cost under competitive conditions.
- Targeted funding of intermodal projects that improve modal connectivity.
- Prioritizing investments that create or enhance economic development opportunities.
- Considering rail when it is the best option for passenger and goods movement capacity expansion projects.
Intermodal rail ports could be financed without the use of new dollars by pledging future user fees toward the projects, in combination with available federal resources and private investment. The Ports of Indiana has expressed strong interest in intermodal rail opportunities, and is uniquely prepared to act as the catalyst by identifying and securing the most viable locations, and investment partners in the shipping and logistics industries that are poised to benefit from the economic opportunities presented by intermodal expansion.
You can read the full Gregg-Simpson plan to strengthen Indiana infrastructure here: http://www.greggforgovernor.com/docs/Indiana-infrastructure.pdf