In a visit with the Indiana Chamber’s Congressional Affairs Policy Committee today, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) said he believes a new long-term highway infrastructure bill should be enacted yet this year.
Citing “desperate, crying” infrastructure needs, the senator said two imperatives are to “make sure we (Indiana) get our share” and “make sure we get it funded. We’re talking about a six-year deal. I’ll take a five-year deal (if need be).”
Indiana is currently receiving 95 cents back on each tax dollar that it sends to Washington. In recent discussions, Donnelly voted no on a proposal that would have included Indiana’s share dropping to between 90 cents and 92 cents on the dollar. The goal, he says, is for no state to be funded at a lower percentage level than in the last long-term deal.
Transportation funding has been dependent on a series of short-term extensions that have not provided the resources needed for states to act with any certainty. Donnelly cited several instances of the damaging impact in Indiana, including the current closure of Interstate 65 near Lafayette due to bridge instability.
“Roads aren’t Republican or Democrat; they’re roads,” he explains. “There’s no way to do this without investment. I’m for seven different ways to fund this thing. Just pick one (or more). I just want to build roads.”
Donnelly also discussed potential changes to the Affordable Care Act (including his support for elimination of the medical device tax), the consequences of Washington legislating through Executive Orders, the debt limit, immigration, Iran, global environmental concerns and more.
Congress is scheduled to resume its work in Washington after Labor Day. Indiana Chamber members will be traveling to Washington on September 16-17 for the annual D.C. Fly-in. You can still register to participate.