INDIANAPOLIS–Mayors from Indianapolis and its metro cities are working together to figure out how to pay for roads and bridges. The Indy Chamber believes a commuter tax would be fair for people who drive into Indy from other communities.
Michael Huber, CEO of the Indy Chamber, said people in most other states pay property taxes where they live and income taxes where thy work.
“In the state of Indiana you pay property taxes where you live. You also pay income taxes where you live. So, you might work in Indianapolis, but live in Greenwood, and you’re gonna pay both in Greenwood, which creates this differential, which makes funding infrastructure and things like that problematic,” said Huber on Abdul at Large.
Huber said Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness has led the way with the introduction in the general assembly this year of a plan for cities in the Indy metro to approach problems from a regional standpoint, possibly pooling money to address infrastructure, and other, issues.
While Indianapolis has a four-year plan to address some of the road and pothole problems, Mayor Joe Hogsett is also looking at what a more regional approach to the problem might look like.
“What is a positive regional solution to the long-term infrastructure needs of frankly, not just the city of Indianapolis, but metropolitan Indianapolis?” asked Hogsett on primary election night. “The truth is, we are now inextricably woven with all the contiguous counties.”
Hogsett didn’t say Indy would be demanding anything from its surrounding cities. But, he did say one of the issues is the number of commuters working in the city.
“Part of our infrastructure challenge is, in no small measure, the result of 170,000 to 180,000 people every day driving from the contiguous counties into our city,” said the mayor.
Huber said that collaboration between metro counties and cities goes beyond roads and bridges.
“There’s been a lot more collaboration on land use and mass transit as we look to expand mass transit beyond Indianapolis, Marion County,” he said. And, the mayors and leaders from across the metro counties are also pushing a collective brand.
“Indianapolis and Indy is the brand, and you hear this even when you go out to the suburbs. You hear, Mayor Scott Fadness has said publicly, when I’m negotiating with tech companies or Ikea, I’m selling Indy. I’m selling Fishers, but I’m selling Indy.”
Huber said you can look to hear and see a growing regional identity of the metro area, as Indy markets itself across the country as a place to live and work.
PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis