From: Jesse Brand, Bender Lumber Co.
Harold Force, Force Construction Co.
(Members of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors)
Our state legislators often face difficult decisions, particularly in a budget session when two-year spending priorities are established. They typically must allocate limited resources to a seemingly never-ending list of well-intentioned programs and initiatives.
In 2017, transportation infrastructure is at the top of the list. Legislators are debating a proposal to provide needed resources for not just the two-year budget cycle but for the next 20 years. For a state with the moniker of Crossroads of America, we contend this should not be one of those difficult decisions.
Yes, craft a responsible plan based on a user-fee model. Those who use our roads and bridges, including many from out of state, should be expected to pay their fair share. But do commit the resources needed (there is a more than $1 billion annual shortfall) to safely and efficiently move our products and people.
All of us are paying now, to the tune of $491 a year on average in vehicle repairs due to subpar conditions. Participating in the form of slightly higher gas taxes at the pump or registration fees for alternative fuel vehicles to help ensure current and future transportation needs is a much better investment than continuing to endure safety hazards and unnecessary repairs.
While our economy continues to evolve, we must also not forget that in Indiana we make things, and we always will. And 80 percent of those manufactured goods are transported on our highways. Excellent roads, now and in the future, are simply too important.