Hoosiers are all-too familiar with the figurative sound of clinking as legislators annually kick the can of long-term infrastructure funding down our pothole-ridden state highways.
The Indiana House recently made an effort to stop the futile game by passing a long-term revenue plan for improving and maintaining our vital state road infrastructure.
Now it's in the hands of the Indiana Senate, and they would do well to remember the bumpy road traveled to get this far and the cost of not completing the journey.
In particular, Indiana Senate President David Long (R-Fort Wayne) said last week that the House-approved gas tax and other hikes to pay for highway infrastructure likely will face a bumpier road in the Senate.
Long acknowledged he agrees the state must raise about $1 billion annually to meet the needs of long-term highway and road bridge funding.
But he said the Senate is not yet committed to House Bill 1002's plan, sponsored by Valparaiso Republican Rep. Ed Soliday, to raise fuel taxes by 10 cents per gallon, pave the way for possible tolling on interstate highways and shift all gasoline sales tax revenue to roads.
"How we pay for this is still very fluid," Long said. "We really haven't had much of a chance to weigh in on the actual specifics."
Long also said he's skeptical of a bill that would hike the cigarette tax by $1 per pack to cover $300 million in revenue that would be shifted from the gas tax to roads.
While state senators can and should consider any ways of improving the road funding plan, they should take care not to allow long-term road funding to stall into yet another year of inaction.
The Indiana Legislature has taken far too many detours in recent years when it had an opportunity to adopt comprehensive funding.
The Indiana Senate has the ability — and responsibility — to change that this legislative session.