[r79] Rep. Lehman Votes to Protect Major Moves Projects and Boost Hoosier Jobs, Economy (2/5/2009)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Start Date: 2/5/2009 All Day
End Date: 2/5/2009

STATEHOUSE - Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne) and the House of Representatives voted today to create jobs and protect important Major Moves projects by passing a Republican amendment to House Bill 1656. The vote was 99-0.

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.

 "The bipartisan support for this amendment was overwhelming, and it takes a job-killer bill and makes it a bill that creates jobs," Rep. Lehman said.

"We give local communities the ability to improve their infrastructure and it encourages Hoosier employers to create much-needed jobs today, and it protects the Major Moves projects of the future."

The Republican amendment 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 available 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 $20M 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. 

"Our Republican amendment gives Hoosiers better roads and more jobs, and it also protects the promise of improved roads and economic development for the future," said Rep. Lehman.