Council to vote on $120 million bond for infrastructure repairs, more money is still needed

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A new plan from the Indianapolis mayor to help fix Indy’s aging infrastructure is getting ready to face its first test.

On Thursday, the City-County Council Public Works Committee will vote on a plan to raise $120 million for city repairs.

When introducing the 2019 city budget last week, Mayor Joe Hogsett highlighted a plan to issue bonds to raise $120 million over the next four years to help fix the city’s aging infrastructure.

The money would be borrowed based on expected revenue from a one-cent-per-gallon increase in the state’s gas tax.

The mayor issued this statement Tuesday about the proposed plan:

“Last winter, Indianapolis residents felt the effects of decades of underinvestment in our city’s roads, streets, and sidewalks. Now, with the help of a bipartisan coalition of city-county councillors, we have the opportunity to leverage the General Assembly recent action to make critical investments in the types of infrastructure that will support our community for decades to come.”   

If approved, the money would it would help increase the DPW budget by roughly 30 million in 2019, $40 million in 2020, and $25 million in 2021 and 2022. The money would go towards repairs on bridges, sidewalks and streets.

"This is going to help close the gap on some of those streets for districts that get more wear and tear than other districts. This is hopefully a way we can sort of level the playing field and just get back to square one." City-County Councilor Colleen Fanning (R-district 2) said.

Still, the city would come well short of the estimated annual repair rate of $178M.

“It’s not really enough, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Fanning said.

Fanning added that it will be up to councilors and the mayor’s administration to come up with more solutions to help bridge the long-standing deficit. Among the possible ideas; a commuter or “donut county” tax.

“And we need to work with the state legislature to ensure that we’re getting the dollars per lane mile back that we deserve as the economic engine of the state,” she said.

If approved by the pubic works committee, the proposal will be voted on by the full council in October.

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