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Legislators announce road-funding task force recommendations

State Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) and State Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville), co-chairs of the Funding Indiana’s Roads for a Stronger Safer Tomorrow (FIRSST) Task Force, have announced the group’s recommendations ahead of the 2017 legislative session.

The FIRSST Task Force was created as part of a comprehensive two-year road-funding plan passed in House Enrolled Act 1001 in 2016, and was charged with identifying new revenue sources to increase long-term funding for Indiana’s transportation infrastructure.

The task force found a variety of new revenue options for the state, ranging from increases in the gas tax to tolling to a vehicle fee. These options will be carefully debated and scrutinized by lawmakers, stakeholders and citizens when the legislative session begins in January.

“We know that the revenue sources we are using right now are not keeping up with our current and future transportation infrastructure needs,” Kenley said. “FIRSST has identified plenty of options that will be on the table as we move into the upcoming budget session. I am confident that through additional deliberative conversations, we will be able to identify a fiscally responsible plan to fund our infrastructure for years to come.”

Brown added that the strength of Indiana’s economy depends on sound transportation infrastructure.

“The work of the task force confirms that a quality network of roads and bridges is critical to Indiana’s future economic success,” Brown said. “In the upcoming session, I am committed to working with my colleagues to craft a road funding plan that is data-driven, comprehensive and sustainable.”

The Senate will reconvene for the 2017 legislative session January 3 and the House of Representatives will reconvene January 4. By law, the Indiana General Assembly must conclude the 2017 session by April 29.