New Highway Spending Bill for Roads and Bridges

Published 07/31 2014 01:48PM

Updated 08/01 2014 04:22PM

Are you tired of all the bumpy roads and crumbling bridges around the Hoosier State?  They may soon be getting a major facelift if Congress approves a new highway spending bill.

Earlier this week the Senate passed the bill, so now it's up to the House and the President to move forward.

WFFT's Rohma Siddiqui has more on that bill and why, if Congress doesn't act soon, it could put people out of work in Northeast Indiana.

"It would just be a terrible tragedy."

Fort Wayne City Councilman Geoff Paddock says if the new Highway and Transportation Funding Act isn't passed soon, hundreds of construction workers that live right here in Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana would be laid off.

"15,000 or so construction workers could be temporarily or perhaps permanently laid off depending on how this thing goes, and the repercussion of that would be devastating for the economy.  We're on the rebound right now."

With 97,000 miles of roadways and almost 19,000 bridges to maintain, Indiana relies heavily on federal funding.  Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly voted in favor of the Highway and Transportation Act on Tuesday.

In a statement, Donnelly said, "Hoosiers rely on highways and roads everyday, from going to work to taking their kids to school.  By ensuring the Highway Trust Fund has sufficient resources for the next few months, we will help continue projects throughout Indiana and protect Hoosier jobs."

The Indiana Department of Transportation has stated that fund reserves will reach dangerously low levels by early August. 

Will Wingfield with INDOT says roads and bridges are primarily funded by the gas tax. 
"Federal highway funding is always operated on a reimbursement basis, so the state is pending it's own funds then going back to the feds and getting reimbursed."

For every gallon of gas you buy, you have an $0.18 cent State Fuel Tax and an 18.4 cent Federal Tax.  This is the main source of the 40% of funding the Federal Government provides the State of Indiana.

Depending on how Congress formulates a plan, this could possibly result in higher prices at the pump.  The bill is now on it's way to the House for consideration.

Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.