When both likely candidates for governor, Democrat John Gregg and Republican Mike Pence, addressed the Ethanol Forum held at the Indiana Farm Bureau Colts Center a couple of weeks ago, the moderator posed some of the same questions to both candidates. One important question on the minds of farmers and those in the ethanol industry relates to roads and bridges. To continue growth of the industry, and if the fledgling cellulosic ethanol effort is ever to take hold, infrastructure will be crucial so farmers can get products to plants and products can move from plants.
Both candidates were asked this question: "With money from Major Moves drying up in July 2013 and 60% of the bridges in Indiana needing repair or replacement over the next 20 years, how would your administration address this issue?"
Gregg: "We have to be efficient, of course. Beyond that, we need to have a discussion in Indiana about how we're going to fund these projects. If we're going to enjoy the advantage that we've had, how will we fund bridges and roads? The discussion is the first step.
"It's not Bluffton vs. Huntington, nor Indianapolis vs. anyone else. We need to be ready to react on a global scale. We need to invest in our strengths as a state, which are agriculture and manufacturing. That's why we need to have this discussion. "
Pence: "Major Moves allowed us to build (or replace) a lot of core infrastructure. The challenge for the next governor is what comes after Major Moves. How will we complete the Interstate 69 project and the U.S. 31 project?"I believe a public and private partnership will be part of the answer. Roads mean jobs. Granting tools to local governments is an option. User fees may also be part of the answer. "