An Indiana House panel has passed a bill that would shift
large sums of state road-repair money from urban areas to rural counties.
Currently, all vehicles pay a state gas tax, which is
collected and distributed among counties and local governments based on how
many cars each area has. But pickups and sport utility vehicles are not counted
in the formula used to distribute tax dollars for road repair and construction.
As a result, some say rural areas are paying the gas taxes
without getting their fair share of state money for building and repairing
The House Roads and Transportation Committee, a panel
dominated by rural lawmakers, voted Jan. 31 to include pickup trucks in the
state’s local road funding formula.
Sponsored by Rep. Andy Thomas, R-Brazil, the bill would
phase in pickups and SUVs to the formula over three years. Every county would
have more vehicles counted in the formula, but rural areas would gain money
because they have a higher percentage of trucks.
In 2004, more than $79 million was distributed through the
state’s local road and street fund. Including pickups in the formula would
shift about $3.1 million of that, according to the Legislative Services Agency.
A recent analysis showed that 15 counties would lose money
and 77 would gain funding in the redistribution.
HB1336 now moves to the full House for consideration.