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Pence, Statehouse leaders to meet over roads

Posted at 12:31 AM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 00:31:40-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- A major meeting Friday could determine the fate of plans to fix the roads and highways you drive.

The hope is that the governor and legislative leaders can find middle ground to keep the plan moving forward.

Republicans in the House and Senate are not in the same lane on the issue with only one week to go in the legislative session. But their disagreement is over the biggest issue on what's been dubbed the "transportation session."

House Speaker Brian Bosma says the conversation will continue through the weekend if needed.

The meeting between Bosma, Senate President David Long and the Governor's Office isn't the first, or likely the last, on the issue.

The House and Senate continue to stand strong on two widely different proposals – one that relies on increases in the taxes on gas and cigarettes, the other on using money from the state's reserves and other funds.

Long says his chamber won't approve any tax increases. Bosma is concerned the Senate plan doesn't go far enough.

Long and Bosma also disagree about the condition of the state's roads and bridges.

"Every state's facing these issues," Long said. "How do we pay for our roads in the future. I think Indiana is in pretty good shape right now. We've done more construction in the last decade than any other state in the country. The issue is, how do we sustain that going forward?"

Bosma disagreed.

"Our reputation as the Crossroads of America is at state here," he said. "Eighty percent of the goods manufactured in this state – and we're the number one manufacturing state in the country – 80 percent of those goods travel over the state's highways."

Long says a short-term solution is needed while lawmakers study the long-term needs and options for revenue. Bosma says if a long-term solution isn't reached, lawmakers will kick the can down the road and come up with a bigger plan next year.

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