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How are state roads funded and maintained?

Two people in orange and yellow vests fill in a pothole on the road
Lauren Chapman
State roads are funded and maintained by the Indiana Department of Transportation. Several listeners wanted to know more details about this funding and how the state repairs roads.

Roads, just like people, have a lifespan. They have to be funded and maintained, which falls under the care of the Indiana Department of Transportation.

There are several kinds of state roads that INDOT has jurisdiction over, said Natalie Garrett is a Strategic Communication Director with INDOT.

“INDOT maintains state highways, interstates, U.S. routes, and all the bridges and structures that are within those roadways,” she said. “INDOT also maintains local routes that cross over the top of an interstate.”

Funding for INDOT comes from a variety of different resources. Garrett explains that part of this stems from an initiative passed by Gov. Holcomb in 2017.

“Part of that was the Next Level roads plan, which is a sustainable plan to fund roads and bridges for at least the next 20 years,” she said.

She adds this initiative also includes a Fully Funded Asset Management Plan, which works to plan construction and management on certain roads in advance.

Garrett says revenues for roads also come from state and federal motor fuel taxes.

“That budget is impacted by the gas tax,” she said. “And also, there is a correlation with fees that are paid at the BMV.”

Other sources of revenue include a motor carrier surcharge tax and international registration program fees.

For maintaining roads, Garrett says the Asset Management Plan factors in inspections on roads and potential repairs.

“Decisions are made based on the expected lifespan of a particular section of roadway,” she said. “Again, I mentioned those regular inspections of the assets – so we have people going out and taking a look and seeing how things are holding up and kind of factoring all of that into the plans going forward.”

She adds individuals are welcome to report any other issues they may notice to INDOT at any time.

“We do have a fully staffed customer service center that's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said. “So if a driver notices a pothole or some other issue out on the roadway, like a sign has been damaged or a dead animal along side of the road – this is somewhere they can go to report that to end up.”

She says the state’s Next Level Roads website also includes an interactive map that shows both current and future projects regarding state roads.

This story came in response to a listener's question. If you have questions for our reporters, you can text us. Sign up for the Indiana Two-Way by texting "Indiana" to 73224.

Contact reporter Violet at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.