Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg offers plan to overhaul transportation infrastructure
Plan would leverage $3.5 billion
Last Updated: 240 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana needs to upgrade its transportation infrastructure, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg said he has a multibillion dollar plan to pay for it.
The plan, unveiled Thursday by Gregg and running mate Vi Simpson, calls for taking $500 million in existing state money and using it to leverage $3.5 billion in borrowed money and private capital.
"We have a program that can put up to 97,000 Hoosiers to work by leveraging monies that we have, not spending them, by not touching this surplus," Gregg said.
Part of the money will come from funds that were originally diverted from the Major Moves project.
The initial plan was to use interest from that fund to pay for future projects. But Simpson said that isn't working out very well.
"What's happened, though, is because the interest rates are so low, the trust fund isn't really earning very much interest," she said. "And so we thought it would be a better use of that trust fund money to put it to work for Hoosiers instead of just letting it languish."
Gregg would also use some gas tax money that currently funds the Indiana State Police, the Indiana Department of Revenue and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and transfer those agencies back into the general fund.
Gregg stressed that the move wouldn't mean draining the state's surplus, which he has pledged not to do.
"They moved them into there, and I don't remember when, but we can find that money," he said. "It's not going to be drawing on the surplus, and it's just for two years."
The plan has the support of the Carpenters Union, which wants some of those 97,000 jobs.
"We're always concerned about jobs. You know, that's our first and foremost thing," said Tom Whitaker with the Carpenters Union. "Our contractors employ our members, and we're always looking for opportunity."
The $3.5 billion would go into a revolving fund from which locals could borrow for transportation projects and then repay from their own future revenues.
This wouldn't allow them to build any additional projects, but would allow them to build what's already on their agendas more quickly, Gregg said.
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