INDIANAPOLIS — More federal funding for Indiana roads and infrastructure is prompting a dozen local projects to be moved up by a full year.
Until recently, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization was in charge of distributing $50 million in federal funding per year for various roads and improvement projects across an eight-county area of central Indiana. That amount went up with the passage of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill in Washington.
“We’ve seen an increase of about $13 million a year with the new infrastructure bill,” said IMPO Executive Director Anna Gremling. “We’re looking at a total of about $63 million of infrastructure projects per year.”
While more money is always seen as a good thing, the IMPO is also required to spend it all each year. The organization quickly realized that it didn’t have enough projects scheduled for the next funding cycle in 2024 and 2025.
“Then we had to take some of those projects that we would have awarded in 25′ and move them to fiscal 24′,” Gremling said.
As a result, 12 projects originally planned for 2025 will now be done in 2024. Those include new roundabouts and other improvements in Indianapolis, Carmel, Noblesville, Greenwood, Hamilton County and Johnson County.
Carmel City Engineer Jeremy Kashman said it was an unexpected surprise to learn two projects in his city could be funded and completed a year earlier. Those include an enhanced multi-use path along 96th Street and a new roundabout at 106th Street and Hazel Dell Parkway.
“Any time we can move something forward and construct it and get done, we’re happy to do that,’ Kashman said.
At the same time, moving federally funded projects up by a year can also bring challenges.
“We know that we have a three or four year kind of development window to work within,” Kashman said.
In Greenwood, the early funding will go toward construction of a new roundabout at Smith Valley and Averitt Road.
“A roundabout has been proven time and time again to move traffic through more smoothly,” said Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers. “So in order to accept the funding, we had to go ahead and move forward at a quicker pace.”
Federal projects take a long time and can take up to double the amount of time to develop as a local project,” Gremling said.
While it’s not known if future funding levels will remain where they are, Gremling said the IMPO will plan on it until they hear otherwise.
“We will continue to take any money the federal government will give us and distribute to us and use it towards quality infrastructure projects.” she said.