INDIANAPOLIS — Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg came out Thursday with a plan to create thousands of jobs by building roads and moving forward with university projects.
“Calling Indiana ‘The Crossroads of America’ is not just a catchy moniker for our state,” Gregg said. “It defines us, and the foundations of our economy as a vital hub in the global supply chain. As our economy grows, our infrastructure needs to grow as well. This will create good jobs now and build a foundation for Indiana’s economic development in the future.”
His Republican opponent, Mike Pence, has released his road map for Indiana, but it doesn’t address infrastructure needs. In an earlier forum, he proposed a blue-ribbon panel to examine the topic.
“Mike Pence believes that roads mean jobs. The first task of the next administration should be to maintain our existing infrastructure and finish the business of Major Moves, including I-69, U.S. 31 and the Ohio River Bridges,” said Christy Denault, communications director for the Pence campaign. “Mike believes we need an infrastructure plan that lives within our means and lays the foundation for long-term growth in Indiana.”
Gregg’s plan would give Indiana potential access to $3.5 billion to spend on infrastructure projects throughout the state without dipping into existing reserves and could create 97,300 Indiana jobs. This includes projects such as building and repairing roads, bridges and rail throughout the state while also making Indiana an intermodal crossroads for the transportation industry.
His proposal hinges on use of the Next Generation Trust Fund – an account holding $500 million from the Indiana Toll Road lease proceeds that legislators have vowed not to use except to siphon off interest every five years.
Gregg would take more than $100 million out of that fund and place it in the Hoosier State Infrastructure Fund along with $360 million over two years in gas tax money currently funding state agencies.
That entity would be a revolving loan fund dedicated to providing low-interest and no-interest loans to Hoosier communities to help fund infrastructure projects identified as being a high economic priority.
Gregg also would use the balance in the Next Generation Trust Fund to leverage private dollars to provide infrastructure seed money. He believes the money can be leveraged at a ratio of $10 to $1, meaning a $300 million guarantee could make $3 billion available in seed dollars.
Separately from roads, his plan calls for moving forward on $227 million worth of university construction projects that have already been approved by the Indiana General Assembly. State Budget Director Adam Horst said none have been approved by the joint State Budget Committee.