Transportation Funding Strategy ‘Must Last Decades, Not Years or Election Cycle’

(INDIANAPOLIS) — In its third public policy letter to the state’s major party candidates for Governor, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce today encouraged more aggressive action on the state’s infrastructure needs regarding transportation, energy, water and telecommunications.

This is part of the organization’s six-week Beyond the Bicentennial campaign (going beyond the state’s first 200 years) that continues through October 11 and focuses on the “most potentially impactful public policies” for gubernatorial candidates and lawmakers. The Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 plan, first introduced in 2012, and its four economic drivers serve as the campaign blueprint. The Superior Infrastructure driver is the latest topic.

When it comes to roads and bridges, Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar reiterates the group’s support for a “long-term, sustainable, strategic policy plan. One that lasts decades, not a few years or an election cycle.”

Brinegar says there are any number of methods to generating revenue that the organization could support – including indexing the gas tax, charging fees for alternative-fuel vehicles, tolling an interstate and devoting more or all of the sales tax on fuels to roads and bridges (with replacement revenue found for the state’s general fund).

“The two prime objectives should be ensuring enough revenue is raised to completely fund both maintenance needs and important new projects, and that every user pays their fair share.”

When it comes to broadband, Brinegar stresses, “We must find more ways to bring the most rural parts of Indiana up to date technologically to help reverse their downward population and economic trends.”

For both the energy and water areas, the Indiana Chamber urges the state to implement proactive strategies to ensure these resources are available, affordable and reliable.

Concerning water, the Indiana Chamber believes the state is getting to the point where it can move from data collection and research to an actionable plan. The state is farther behind on an energy roadmap, Brinegar notes, and recommends a focus be put on “diversifying Indiana’s energy mix with an emphasis on clean coal, natural gas, nuclear power and renewables” in light of the Obama administration’s attack on coal.

The first two policy letters, released September 1 and 13, emphasized the Outstanding Talent and Attractive Business Climate drivers of the Indiana Vision 2025 plan. All releases are online at www.indianachamber.com/letters. The remaining Beyond the Bicentennial letter and accompanying video will be made available on October 11 (Dynamic & Creative Culture).

The full Word version of the Superior Infrastructure letter (which can be attributed to Kevin Brinegar and run as a guest column) is available for download at https://www.dropbox.com/s/e0f9vt3yeeowgzk/2016-2025%20Letters%20%28Superior%20Infrastructure%29%20FINAL.docx?dl=0.

About Indiana Vision 2025
In 2012, the Indiana Chamber published Indiana Vision 2025, a comprehensive, multi-year initiative to provide leadership and a long-range economic development action plan for Indiana. The mission statement: “Indiana will be a global leader in innovation and economic opportunity where enterprises and citizens prosper.”

A 24-person statewide task force of business and organization leaders developed the original plan. Many from that group, with some additions, worked for four months earlier this year to review progress, update goals and metrics, and identify potential new research to enhance future Report Cards (progress on each of the now 36 goals under the four drivers is assessed every other year).

The Indiana Chamber thanks Duke Energy, NIPSCO, Old National Bank, Vectren and all the investors in Indiana Vision 2025.

Learn more about Indiana Vision 2025 at www.indianachamber.com/2025.

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The Indiana Chamber partners with 24,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”

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