Indiana Crumbling Roads: All from one bad winter or is there more to it?

When discussing taxation with friends from the right or left eventually the question arises, “Without taxes, who would pay for the roads?” After increasing taxes last year meant to pay for your roads, many Indiana residents and local politicians are still left asking who will pay for the roads?

With the seventh highest gas tax in the nation and recent estimates of $730 million just to bring the streets of Indianapolis to fair condition, the first question we need to answer is how did we get to this point?

Slight of hand was used on Indiana residents in that the taxes collected for infrastructure have been used for everything except. The majority of road taxes go to the general fund. We have essentially been robbing Peter to pay Paul. The problem is Peter and Paul are both Indiana residents still driving on crumbling roads. Knowing this, you would think the latest bill increasing our taxes would surely allocate all of the new funding to repair our roads. Well Indiana, this time it’s ‘shame on us’. There are still portions of the collections going to the general fund.

State Rep Ed Soliday (Valparaiso), the author of the Bill, responded to criticism saying, “Because of advocacy of radical, reactionary groups like Americans for Prosperity our infrastructure was allowed to fall into disrepair…..”. State Sen Luke Kenley (Noblesville) said, “If you’re going to use it, you need to pay for it.” The audacity of these men who steal funds from one area in order to pay off another, all in the name of balancing a budget so they can claim fiscal conservatism. Their initial actions are one level of impertinece. Pointing their fingers and the blame to citizens and groups trying to hold them accountable are outright lies.

We cannot deny that something needs to be done and inevitably Hoosiers will foot that bill. Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett has issued an emergency declaration allowing Public Works to use $13 million of the city’s “rainy day fund”. This is all that is remaining from the original amount of $52 million set up in 2016. While Hogsett is lauding how they’ve prepared for this day, I’m asking myself how throwing $13 million at a $730 million problem can be called prepared? What happened to the other $39 million? It was spent on more pressing matters.

New ideas (meaning not new at all) are being discussed to find a solution, such as commuter taxes and toll roads. Citizens are even coming up with their own remedies. I don’t pretend to know what direction we need to go to fix the issues as it seems we are passed any rational approach. My purpose in this writing is to make clear what brought us to this point: If we forget our past we are doomed to repeat it. Should we ever get this infrastructure situation under control we must remember what got us here to begin with.

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