Rep. Everhart said he opposes HB 1656 because it could cost Indiana $700 million in federal grants and would redirect over $245 million over the next two years from the Indiana Department of Transportation. That could force INDOT to reduce its work force in a time when Indiana is seeing soaring unemployment rates.
"Keeping Hoosiers at work, especially locally, is my priority," said Rep. Eberhart. "It doesn't make sense to stop projects - especially given the state of our economy - that are not only providing jobs but improving roads. Our local Hoosiers can't afford to see this bill pass."
District 57 alone is currently slated for projects totaling $4 million. But if House Bill 1656 passes, any projects projected to start after July 1, 2009, will be called off before they begin. Around the state, projects have employed roughly 25,000 Hoosiers since 2006.
"Passing this bill will take away work that Hoosiers need in this economic crisis," Rep. Eberhart said. "On top of that, risking $700 million in federal matching grants is beyond dumb."
The Roads and Transportation Committee passed HB 1656, 7-5. It is currently eligible for second-reading amendments.