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Serving: IN

Rural Roads and Bridges Will Be Big Issue to Tackle

Rural Roads and Bridges Will Be Big Issue to Tackle
Candidate for Indiana Governor John Gregg believes Hoosiers need to decide what infrastructure they want and how to pay for it.

The Major Moves project that involved selling the toll road in northern Indiana became a hallmark of the Daniels Administration. Some believe it was a bold move that brought in needed dollars to get projects underway that had sat on the shelf for years. Others thought it was more controversial.

Whatever you thought about it, the truth is that the money generated from it runs out in July, 2013. The next governor will have to deal with how to complete unfinished projects, possibly, and for sure, set agendas for maintaining and improving Indiana's roads and bridges.

ONE ON ONE CHAT: Talking to John Greg is an easy assignment. He gets excited about things that he strongly believes in.

Editor Tom Bechman sat down with Democrat candidate John Gregg. One of the topics on the agenda was what to do about rural roads and bridges.

IPF: Many roads and especially rural bridges are old and need repair. Wow would you deal with this issue?

GREGG: Major Moves (money) is gone in July 2013. I-69 won't be complete and the U.S. 31 project to South Bend won't be finished. The Hoosier Heartland project in north-central Indiana won't even be close.

I live on a county road. A large part of the road leading to my home in one direction is gravel. Our county commissioners have elected to tear up some chip and seal roads and let them go back to gravel because they couldn't afford to maintain them.

We've got to have serious discussions if we're going to be a player (in exports) not only in the Midwest but in the world. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue here. There are only problems and answers. We need to face the reality that the toll road and the money will be gone. The question is how can we maintain infrastructure at the state and local level. There are options for funding, and we need to look at them. As cars get more efficient, gas tax revenue will only become less. Some states use tolls to raise money, some use private and public partnerships. We need to decide what we're going to do and how to best fund it.

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