STATEHOUSE - The Indiana House of Representatives passed a Republican amendment today for House Bill 1656 by a 99-0 vote. The amendment will provide jobs for Hoosiers, allow local government to improve streets, roads and highways in their areas and protect important Major Moves projects that will be the basis for longer-range economic development and even more jobs for Hoosiers.
"Today we witnessed a rare moment of bipartisanship on the House floor," said Rep. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville). "By protecting these important Major Moves programs, we also protect corridors for economic growth. Equally important, we provide more jobs and funding for local communities."
The plan protects Major Moves projects and their economic potential:
· The Republican plan retains all existing funding for Major Moves projects, preserving funding for U.S. 31, the Hoosier Heartland Highway, Interstate 69 South, the Fort to Port project and dozens of other scheduled projects.
The plan provides money for local road projects:
· In fiscal years 2009 and 2010, municipalities and county governments would receive a total of $500 million for road construction, maintenance and repair from the newly established Local Road Special Projects Fund.
· $250 million in federal highway funding would be placed in the fund from these existing state funds: Surface Transportation Fund, Bridge Fund Equity Bonus Fund.
· $250 million in money generated through the federal stimulus bill would also be placed in the special projects fund for a total of $500 million over the biennium to Indiana cities, towns and counties for local road projects.
The plan creates a Community Infrastructure Assistance Program:
· As the federal stimulus road dollars contain aggressive timeline restrictions, and the Special Projects Fund also contains timeline restrictions placing difficult challenges before local communities, the state would establish a $20 million Community Infrastructure Assistance Fund from unallocated stabilization fund monies to assist local units with technical and engineering expertise to qualify and utilize the federal stimulus money and the Special Project Fund.
The plan creates Adult Workforce Retraining Grants:
· Indiana residents who have lost their jobs in the past year due to reductions in the workforce would be eligible for the Adult Workforce Retraining Grants administered by the Department of Workforce Development.
· Out-of-work Hoosiers would be eligible to receive a $3,000-per-year grant for two years to be used at any two- or four-year year institution of higher learning.
The plan provides for higher-education construction:
· Under the federal stimulus bill, Indiana will receive money from the Higher Education Modernization, Renovation and Repair Fund. House Republicans believe this money should be utilized immediately to put Hoosier tradesmen to work on needed higher-education projects.
Rep. Saunders encourages his constituents to contact him with any questions or comments. He can be reached by e-mail at h54@IN.gov, by phone at 1-800-382-9841 or by mail at the Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.