A bill creating a
two-year study to consider road funding alternatives passed out of the House
with overwhelming bipartisan support and will now go to the Senate for
further consideration and debate.
Representative Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, coordinating with the Indiana
Department of Transportation, authored House Bill (HB) 1104 to address the
state’s infrastructure needs by studying various mechanisms to sustain and
improve Indiana’s transportation system.
“We are trying to
take a measured, comprehensive approach to considering what options or
mechanisms are available to address the state’s infrastructure needs,” said
Soliday. “Our current funding mechanisms for transportation improvements are
declining each year due to more fuel efficient vehicles, higher fuel costs
and alternative fuels, so we need to explore other, more effective options
to keep our roads and bridges maintained to support businesses and Hoosier
If enacted, HB 1104
wou* ld require INDOT to contract with a third party to study all
transportation funding mechanisms, lasting a minimum of two years. Some of
those alternatives include the following: flat per vehicle fee, tolls, state
gross retail tax on motor fuel, special fuel tax, motor carrier fuel tax and
the gasoline tax.
The bill allows the
third party to consider any additional mechanism that INDOT deems
appropriate as a road funding alternative. All the alternatives, along with
external factors that affect them, like the weight of a vehicle or miles
driven, would be listed in a spreadsheet in order to make the document more
“We are doing this
study now while we still have time, and we should not rule out or have
preconceived notions about any funding mechanism before we have a chance to
consider them all,” said Soliday.
study includes an evaluation of the potential effects those various funding
mechanisms might have on alternative fuels or new technological advances in
the automotive industry.
Under HB 1104, the
third party would inventory all infrastructure maintained by the potential
revenue generated by the funding alternatives and would be tasked to
identify and discuss any concerns related to privacy, accessibility or
outlined in HB 1104 requires the third party to establish a rating system to
evaluate the maintenance of Indiana’s transportation system. The rating
would later be used to determine the necessary maintenance costs to improve
the state’s infrastructure.
Every year, the
third party will compile their findings and submit them to the Joint Study
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Assessment and Solutions, the
Legislative Council and the governor, no later than July 1 of each year the
Once the study is
complete, HB 1104 recommends that INDOT use one or more of the funding
mechanisms to conduct a voluntary pilot program, based on the
appropriateness of the findings.
“Once the findings
are produced, members of the Legislature will be able to make better
informed decisions about what funding mechanisms will sustain Indiana’s
transportation infrastructure the best in the long term. I want the quality
and condition of our state’s infrastructure to be the model for the rest of
the country,” said Soliday.