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6/18/2017 - Why is Indiana the Crossroads of America?
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From State Representative Randy Frye
Indianas state motto is The Crossroads of America. Some historians say this is due to Indianapolis being the hub of several major interstate highways that criss-cross Indiana and connect Hoosiers to the rest of the U.S. Others say Highways 40 and 41 opened the West for settlement and were designated as part of the original federal highway system in 1926. The intersection of these two highways in Terre Haute became the Crossroads of America. Either way, we have been labeled as such, and with thousands of out-of-state motorists traveling our roadways, it makes sense to support a user-pays approach when developing a system for improving our infrastructure.
According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, approximately 81 billion vehicle miles were traveled on Hoosier roads in 2015. Our area of the state connects Ohio and Kentucky to Indianapolis, so our infrastructure is traveled on more heavily than roads in other parts of the state. In 2015, both commercial and local traffic logged more than 1.9 million miles in Dearborn County, nearly 1.5 million in Decatur and more than 1.1 million in Ripley County. Altogether Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio and Switzerland counties had over 2.3 million miles traveled on their roads.
At least 14 percent of all vehicle miles traveled on Indiana roads are by out-of-state motorists. This might not seem like a high number, but if you take into consideration its 14 percent of 81 billion miles traveled, the effect it has on Hoosier roadways is pretty significant.
Many of the roads in Southeastern Indiana are chip and sealed, which is the application of gravel that is layered with a thin coating of asphalt. Many semi-trucks use these chip and sealed roads in order to get to Cincinnati. These kinds of vehicles are responsible for nearly 40 percent of the damage to roadways due to the weight of the cargo being hauled across the state, according to INDOT. The funding plan passed by the General Assembly this year will hopefully take a step in moving away from chip and sealing our roads to smoothly paving Indianas infrastructure.
The trucking industry is a vital part of not only Indianas economy, but the U.S. economy. Almost every industry relies on trucks to deliver goods, and without these goods we would not meet the needs of our states supply and demand system, which keeps Hoosiers employed and money flowing through the economy.
That is why this year I co-authored legislation that heavily invests in our roads over the next 20 years. The roads plan transfers the responsibility of paying for the Crossroads of America from the people who live here, to the people who drive here. This helps take some of the burden off of hard-working Hoosiers.
The new law constitutes the largest investment in infrastructure in Hoosier history. It will provide immediate and substantial funding increases for state and local roads, and it does so by restoring the user pays principle and requiring all taxes paid at the pump to go exclusively to roads and bridges. In all, the average Hoosier driver will pay about $5 more per month. Hoosiers will start seeing results in July, as an additional $357 million in state and $260 million in local road funding become available. This will continue to increase year-over-year, reaching $1.2 billion by 2024.
To find out more about this comprehensive, responsible and sustainable plan to fund our state and local roads, click here.
As always, please contact me with questions or input at 317-234-3827 or by email at email@example.com. I appreciate hearing from you in order to better represent our district. Stay up-to-date with the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h67.
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