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Indiana Gov. signs road plan with 10-cent gas hike

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Thursday signed into law a two-year budget and an infrastructure plan featuring tax and fee hikes to pay for improvements.

Holcomb and Republican legislative leaders trumpeted both bills at a signing ceremony in the Statehouse on Thursday. They said the roads  plan will “drive Indiana to the next level.”

The quick adoption of the plan marks a contrast to the way budget debates have been going in Wisconsin – where the disagreement between Gov. Scott Walker and some of his fellow Republicans has grown rancorous enough that it is spilled out into public view.

Various GOP lawmakers have said an increase in the state’s gas tax should at least be considered as a way to prevent delays to various road projects. Walker has adamantly refused to contemplate raising gas taxes and has instead put forward plans that would put off work on a long-planned reconstruction of an east-west running section of Interstate 94 and other projects.

In Indiana, the transportation plan signed by Gov. Holcomb aims to spend roughly $1.2 billion a year in new money to replace aging roads and bridges by increasing the state’s fuel tax by 10 cents a gallon and imposing new vehicle fees.

Holcomb says residents will smell asphalt from construction “morning, noon and night.”

The $32 billion budget he also signed sends money toward pay increases for state police and an expansion of the preschool pilot, in addition to other education funding.

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