Allen County Commissioner Therese Brown has never been one to mince words, and she is using her position as president of the Association of Indiana Counties to push for state changes to benefit local roads.
In a recently written letter sent to Indiana newspapers seeking publication on opinion pages, Brown calls on the state to begin using all of its fuel tax revenues for infrastructure. She claims that current law allows $144 million of those taxes to be diverted for other us.
“Local officials have administrative and public safety costs that are covered by the units’ general funds and the state should do the same,” she wrote
Brown offered some sobering stats to back up her argument: “In Allen County and the surrounding nine counties, 40 major projects controlled by the state and local agencies are needed by 2025 for commercial development and traffic mitigation. Eight are funded.”
She also wrote that roads that should be repaired every decade are fixed every 16 to 30 years. Brown admitted local sources of revenue, such as excise and wheel taxes, are part of the solution, but state action must also be included.
“After nearly a decade of falling revenue, many rural roads, but also city streets, are teetering on the need for major repair. The decisions by some localities to close bridges or return roads to gravel reflect that dilemma,” she wrote.
Whether her call will gain any traction remains to be seen, but it is likely not the last time people across Indiana hear from Brown’s bully pulpit.