Indy looks at pumping millions into 50 roughest roads

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - If Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett gets his way, millions of dollars will be spent over the next several years to improve some of the city’s worst roads.

According to the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW), the city has a $2 billion road problem. That’s the total cost it would take to rehab every infrastructure issue in the city.

At his 2017 budget presentation to city council Monday, Hogsett came up with a more affordable fix of his own.

“This plan will fix roads, it will build sidewalks, while also investing in the transportation infrastructure of the future with improved bike-ability and improved walk-ability,” Hogsett told the council.

The mayor wants to pump $200 million over the next four years into rehabbing the city’s 50 roughest roads.

Which roads will those be?

“You don’t know exactly, until you inspect and get all your data points to know what the fix really is, what is the problem that you are really truly solving,” said Betsy Whitmore, Chief Communications Officer for the Department of Public Works.

DPW has an idea though of which streets need the most work. There is a long list of rough roads that already exists. $50 million a year though will likely come in the form of major improvements to a few streets, rather than Band-Aid fixes to a bunch.

“Whatever poor pavement we have is going to get worse and it’ll get worse faster because of all the work that it gets,” said Whitmore.

Another idea was raising the wheel tax to pay for additional road projects. The mayor has dismissed any notion of raising city taxes.

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