INDIANAPOLIS – On Tuesday, Senate Democrat Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) issued the following statement after the passage of House Bill (HB) 1002, a major infrastructure proposal that would increase gasoline taxes, increase several other motor vehicle fees and allow the governor to begin tolling on some of Indiana’s interstate highways in an effort to raise an estimated $1 billion annually needed to maintain the state’s roads and infrastructure.

“From the beginning of this infrastructure debate, this has been an issue of tax fairness in my eyes. Over the last number of years, we have continued to decrease the tax rates of corporations, big businesses and financial institutions while we are now passing that burden on every day, working Hoosiers for roads.

“Senate Democrats were on the forefront of this issue last legislative session after the I-65 bridge over Wildcat Creek began to fall into the water. I think we can all agree there is a need for infrastructure improvements across this state, and that we as legislators need to find a way to pay for it.

“However, another issue I have with this measure, in addition to tax fairness, is how we spend the revenue generated through these tax increases and user fees.

“According to data from the Federal Highway Administration, there were 1,533 deficient bridges in the state of Indiana in 2016. Of those, 1,275 are owned and maintained by our counties, cities and towns. Not to mention the fact that our counties maintain nearly double the amount of road miles than the state does.

“So, not only are we asking Hoosiers to pay for infrastructure improvements while continuing to give handouts to big business, but we are not giving our local units of government enough funding to improve the roads and bridges working Hoosiers start and end their commutes on every single day.

“It is my hope that some of these issues will be worked out in the conference committee process, but as it currently stands, this proposal prioritizes repairing state infrastructure assets over local roads and bridges, all on the backs of working families.”