A new bill with plans to help repair Indiana’s crumbling roads cleared through the Indiana House Roads and Transportation Committee on January 25.
The bill passed through the committee with a vote of 8 to 5. The bill is controversial in the state because it is going to be primarily funded through an increase to the gas tax. Critics warn that these tax price hikes will cause people to cross the border to bordering states to purchase fuel, which will hurt gas stations in the state.
Gary, Indiana mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson countered “[Children] shouldn’t have to play dodge ball, or play stickball, or cricket, or any other games they play now and dodge potholes at the same time.”
The Indiana Department of Transportation quotes a billion dollars a year as the cost of repairing the state’s failing infrastructure. This would translate to 10 cents a gallon increase in the gas price and additional $15 registration fees on cars. Controversially, an additional $150 tax will be imposed on electric cars, presumably because these cars don’t take gasoline.
In a move that’s odd for the party, the state Republicans are actually pushing for these tax increases, saying it’s the easiest solution. Democrats are actually pushing for the elimination of certain tax breaks on the wealthy in lieu of taxing gas, which hits the middle class and poor harder.
The bill heads to its next and final stage soon. If passed, the gas tax increase would go into effect this summer.