Road Funding Committee Discussions Ramp Up

9809397An in-depth interim summer study committee on road funding (called FIRSST) held its second meeting last week. This was an input session that focused on how Indiana’s road conditions and funding compare to other states.

There were several informative presentations from several different groups including Conexus and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Points of interest from the discussion:

  • For the U.S., average funding sources for highways and transit are 25% federal, 40% state and 35% local.
  • Indiana’s deficient roads cost $391 per motorist per year. This includes flat tires, bent rims and other costs.
  • Some 16% or 9,965 miles of Indiana’s roads are considered in poor condition; that ranks us third among six Midwestern states.
  • A total of 10.2% or 1,944 Indiana bridges are considered deficient in quality; that ranks us second among six Midwestern states.
  • Investment in road infrastructure is declining, even when adjusted for inflation.
  • There are 54 potential funding sources for road funding ranging from fuel taxes to parking meters.
  • Fuel taxes have not kept up with the infrastructure needs. Automobiles are more fuel efficient and inflation has been eating away the buying power of gas taxes. Indiana last raised its gas tax in 2003 and it is not indexed for inflation.
  • As electric cars become more popular, very few states – including Indiana – impose fees for their use of roads. Of the 10 states that do, the fee ranges from $47.50-$200 per year.
  • Of the 50 states, 36 – Indiana among them – have toll roads.

The Indiana Chamber will continue to encourage the development and implementation of fiscal systems to support the array of transportation infrastructure projects critical to economic growth. The next FIRSST meeting is scheduled for September 29.

Don’t Miss the Upcoming Logistics Summit in Indy

We get it: Logistics is a big deal in Indiana. And it’s much more than the “Crossroads of America” moniker.

Logistics plays a key role in several goals within Indiana Vision 2025, the Indiana Chamber’s long-range economic development action plan. The sector employs more than 300,000 people across the state.

Help take logistics to the next level by participating in the 11th Annual Indiana Logistics Summit on October 9-10, co-hosted by Ports of Indiana, Purdue University and Conexus Indiana.

"Asia to Indiana Nonstop" will feature insights from Gov. Pence and state business leaders with a focus on the new intermodal service that could reduce supply chains by a week (BizVoice magazine introduced this initiative earlier this year). Highlights include education sessions (learn strategies to reduce your supply chain costs and more), networking opportunities and an expo.

The event will take place at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Learn more and register at www.indianalogistics.com.

Indiana Leads in Manufacturing, but Challenges Persist

A new report card by Conexus Indiana contains some interesting findings regarding manufacturing in Indiana. On a positive note, the state ranks above average in terms of its global position. However, Indiana earns subpar marks for human capital:

Indiana continues to boast the strongest manufacturing economy in the nation, and is a leader in attracting foreign manufacturing investment – but long-term weaknesses in its workforce will undermine these advantages unless bold action is taken.

These are among the observations made in the second-annual ‘Indiana Manufacturing & Logistics Report Card,’ released by the Conexus Indiana initiative. The report card was discussed at a breakfast event hosted by Conexus in Indianapolis, which also featured a program focused on Indiana’s ‘clean technology’ sector, which offers manufacturing opportunities in areas like hybrid-electric vehicles and advanced battery technologies.

“Manufacturing has been the primary source of economic growth and jobs in Indiana for generations,” said Steve Dwyer, President & CEO of Conexus Indiana. “This report card helps tell us in an empirical way how vital manufacturing still is here – and most importantly, the issues we need to focus on to keep it that way." …

Other key findings from the 2009 Indiana Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card:
• Indiana ranks first among states in per capita manufacturing employment and 9th in logistics employment per capita;
• The state ranks first in income derived from foreign-owned manufacturers and 5th in reach of foreign investment, reflecting strong success in attracting global manufacturing capital;
• While Indiana ranks second among states in workers compensation rates, the state places 28th and 33rd respectively in healthcare premiums and long-term healthcare costs, making healthcare an issue of concern going forward;
• With rankings of 29th in percentage of the workforce with a high school diploma and 42nd in college-educated workers, human capital remains Indiana’s biggest long-term hurdle to future manufacturing and logistics growth.

The full 2009 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card can be viewed online on Ball State University’s web site.