Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pence Infrastructure Plan Fails to Quiet Critics

Governor Mike Pence
Governor Mike Pence announced a $1 billion package to fix Indiana's infrastructure yesterday, and it did nothing to mollify his critics.

John Zody, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman said in a news release, “It took a month-long interstate bridge closure, $71 million wasted in faulty asphalt, and a public relations crisis for Governor Pence to finally put his ideology aside and begin tackling one of today’s biggest problems facing our state. However, today’s announcement only achieves the bare minimum that’s needed to maintain Indiana’s D+ rated infrastructure system. With campaign polling showing him ‘in the low 30s’, the governor is making a political reaction to a real problem Hoosiers have known about all along. The sudden change in course shows that when given the choice, the Governor Pence will choose his ideology over the well-being of our state 100% of the time, and these delays hurt our state."

Democratic frontrunner for Governor in 2016, John Gregg, said, “Mike Pence continues to lead from behind. As he’s done in the past, it’s only after an embarrassing public relations crisis that he has stepped up to offer any ideas. And, sadly, his infrastructure proposal amounts to filling half a pothole. The plan doesn’t even fund the state’s existing infrastructure needs, it doesn’t address future needs and it doesn’t offer support to our cities, towns and counties who also maintain hundreds of miles of critical roads and bridges. Hoosiers deserve better.”

The $1 billion plan to be doled out over four years, as I understand it, features $649 million from either bonds or Indiana General Fund money.  The rest is to come out of Indiana's $2 billion surplus.  The Democratic leaders are right.  It's late and not adequate.

It's throwing a simple bandage on a gushing wound.  Our roads, streets, and freeways are failing and crumbling.

Now, my good friend Abdul-Hakim Shabazz took on the Democrats.  He said that they have failed to put forth a plan that's as far reaching as the Governor's to fix the infrastructure.  Thanks to redistricting, the Republicans have marginalized Democrats.  Democrats have been reduced to the loyal opposition.  Sadly, Democrats have so little control over state government right now, we have one party ruling the's been that way since 2011, and Republicans haven't even needed Democrats to show up for work since 2013.  Democrats can't stop any legislation Republicans want to jam through if they wanted to, so let's stop attacking the D's speaking out.  There is no filibuster in state politics.

It's Republicans that hold all the power, and this issue is not new.  Brian Bosma noted that he would like to increase funding for infrastructure in 2016 and 2017 in March.  The urgency came when major interstate bridges started to fail, but it shouldn't be a shock to the party in power.  After all, at the tail end of the Daniels Administration, a major bridge over the Ohio River had to be closed and repaired.  This is not a new issue, and it's not the Democrats fault it's not getting taken care of.

Governor Pence has been largely silent on the issue, and that's the reason he's getting attacked.

We all want this fixed, but Governor Pence's "solution" just brings up more questions.  How will this plan be sustainable past these four years?  What is our plan going forward?  If he refuses to lead, he needs to get out of the way.

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