Today during a House Budget Committee hearing, Congressman Stutzman (IN-03) highlighted Indiana's successes and offered the state as a model for tearing down barriers to economic growth. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush testified before the committee and shared Congressman Stutzman's belief in state-based solutions like the Indiana toll road lease.
"I want to talk about states' rights, states' responsibilities, and actually where the states are the solution to the problems that we have," said Stutzman. "I really do believe that the states are going to be the solution to the problems that the federal government has created I was in the Indiana Legislature in 2005 when Governor Daniels was elected and we had a transportation hole to fill. We were talking about bonds, we were talking about gas taxes, and none of those were the good options. None of us felt that that was the right thing to do to either raise taxes or to borrow more money from the future. So, Indiana leased the toll road that we have in Indiana for $3.8 billion from the private sector. Now, Washington is wanting to punish Indiana because we were creative."
Currently, provisions introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM) and included in the Senate's transportation bill would penalize states for pursuing solutions like Indiana's toll road lease. Senator Bingaman has proposed that states that lease toll roads to private companies should be punished through modified federal funding formulas.
Asked for his insights, Governor Bush expressed his support for state-based reforms and Indiana's ingenuity. "[The toll road lease] was a very creative deal," said Bush. "I think you're right to allow states to be the laboratories for this to work out would be a great idea."
Having worked on the toll road lease during his time in the Indiana Legislature, Congressman Stutzman has opposed the U.S. Senate's misguided, top-down approaches and continues to make the case for state-based, creative solutions.