A $350 million plan to repair high priority roads and bridges as well as add sidewalks in critical areas of Indianapolis among other infrastructure improvements is proving controversial after the Department of Public Works Committee denied a request for the city to borrow $135 million.
Democratic committee members, who voted along party lines, said borrowing a third of the money needed would be fiscally irresponsible.
“There is a lot at stake and a lot of improvements that are at risk,” said Lesley Gordon, Indianapolis Department of Public Works spokesperson.
“How they could possibly vote against helping their neighborhoods like that is shocking,” said Mayor Greg Ballard of the public works majority vote to deny the proposal to borrow $135 million.
The mayor has said he would like to see the full council vote to take another look at the proposal next month during a regularly scheduled meeting.
“I am very hesitant to put future generations of Indianapolis residents on the hook for things that we’re going to use today. I think that’s a dangerous precedent to start,” said Zach Adamson, a Democratic Indianapolis City-County Councilor and a member of the public works committee.
Gordon said, without the $135 million that would need to be paid back over 30 years, they cannot move forward with the $350 million plan. She said they would only be able to make about half of the high priority improvements that have been outlined in the overall plan.
“Without being able to leverage some of those dollars, some of those critical projects are ones were aren’t even going to be able to look at or do,” said Gordon.
She also said critical safety improvements will be made regardless of the end result using the annual budget.