New Highway Bill Would Help Fund Infrastructure Projects in Area

Published 07/03 2014 11:54AM

Updated 07/03 2014 12:05PM

A national organization called LIUNA made it's way to the Summit City to advocate the importance of bridge and infrastructure safety. 

WFFT's Rohma Siddiqui met with leaders of the group and Fort Wayne City Officials and has more on a new highway bill that's heading to Congress which would help fund infrastructure projects in our area.  As Rohma discovered, there is a catch.  If the bill passes, we all may see higher prices at the pump.

Mayor Tom Henry is asking Congress to step up and adjust fuel taxes.

"We can't do any kind of long term planning for transportation unless we know the funds are gonna be there.  Many of our funds for our transportation needs come from the Federal Government."

Jeffrey Schweyer, a Fort Wayne resident is in favor of the tax increase as long as the money goes toward improving local roadways and bridges.

"I'm for it if it means that property taxes will stay lower.  If it means a couple more cents, what's the difference?"

Mayor Tom Henry says that Allen County is well aware of the changes that need to take place.

"They're responsibly for most of the bridges in this community.  They do have a report that shows most of our bridges are inadequate right now."

So exactly how bad is it?  Well, when it comes to numbers, almost 22% of our bridges are either obsolete or deficient.

Mark McCoy is the President of a local bridge building company here in Fort Wayne and says, "It's so bad that the roads I frequently travel on, I memorize where the potholes are so that i can miss them."

Joe Szabo, another Fort Wayne resident is not in favor of the tax hike.

"You know that money they got from the lottery, that's supposed to been used to fix these bridges.  They're just not doing it."

Local leaders say safety is their number one concern and they believe a gas tax increase is a small price to pay to keep all of us safe on our local roadways.

"We have a bus behind us where we see the possibility of young children, our own children going to school that could be harmed if our infrastructure is poor and I think folks will pay a higher price at the gas pump if we're showing them we're investing that."

Congress is expected to make a decision before the end of this fiscal year, which is September 30th. 

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