While criticizing America’s infrastructure has become commonplace, state governments struggle to fund the needed repairs. A House committee in the Indiana State legislature has approved an increase in funding to improve the state’s infrastructure.
NWI reports that the new measure, House Bill 1002, will impose higher vehicle fees and taxes on fuel, and possibly other measures like highway tolls. Under the proposed law, Indiana would seek approval from the federal government to impose a toll on the interstate highways that run through the state. The House Roads and Transportation Committee approved the bill with an 8-5 vote. Outside groups from across the political spectrum supported the measure.
User-based fees for infrastructure improves are appealing. If the people using the infrastructure have to pay for it (e.g., through tolls), then they will, presumably, only use it if it is financially efficient to do so. One challenge for Indiana today is that much of the wear and tear on its roads comes from trucks and other vehicles that originate outside the state and simply pass through on their way to another destination. Those vehicles essentially use the state’s infrastructure for free, although they, of course, buy fuel and other supplies in the state, providing some tax revenue.
House Bill 1002 may not solve all of Indiana’s road maintenance problems, but it is a reasonable attempt. Over time, it could become one of several tools that the state uses to maintain its infrastructure.