The state announced nearly $100 million in matching grants for local road projects Thursday, with 15 Region municipalities and all three counties earning a collective sum in excess of $10.1 million.
The Community Crossings grants fund half of the cost of road projects in larger communities and three-quarters in smaller communities.
In addition to Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties, the municpalities of Beverly Shores, Burns Harbor, Chesterton, Dune Acres, Lake Station, LaPorte, Lowell, Munster, New Chicago, Ogden Dunes, St. John, Schererville, Wanatah, Whiting and Winfield received grants.
Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness announced the grants, totaling $99.2 million to 229 Indiana cities, towns, and counties, in Madison.
“High-quality local roads and bridges are an important part of our formula for attracting jobs, growing our economy, and building strong communities,” Holcomb said. “Our fully-funded Next Level Roads plan and record-breaking level of construction has gained Indiana national recognition for our approach to infrastructure, and Community Crossings takes that commitment to the local level all across the state.”
Several local legislators echoed that.
“The Community Crossings grant is an excellent opportunity for municipalities looking to make progress on local roads,” state Rep. Michael Aylesworth, R-Hebron, said. “This program is a great example of our community and state working together to improve our infrastructure and make a difference for Hoosiers.”
State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, said Community Crossings is among a set of "unprecedented investments" the state has made in roads and bridges in recent years.
“Indiana’s status as a top-ranked state for infrastructure is largely due to our conservative road funding plan, as well as the collaborative effort that exists between the state and local governments,” Soilday said.
“Infrastructure is vital to ensuring a high quality of life for Hoosiers,” state Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso said. “I look forward to seeing how the projects funded by the CCMG program will positively impact communities in our district and across Indiana.”
The Community Crossings initiative, in its fourth year, has provided more than $612 million in state matching funds for construction projects. The current round garnered more applications than dollars available.
The program has two rounds, with applications accepted in January and July. It has a $1 million annual cap per community. An estimated $100 million will be available for communities opting to apply during the January 2020 call for projects.
“Efficiently and safely moving people and commerce is vital to the quality of life and vitality of our communities,” McGuinness said. “INDOT is excited to partner with communities through this matching grant program to make infrastructure investments that contribute to the success of all Hoosier cities, towns, and counties.”
To qualify for funding, local governments must provide local matching funds, of 50% for larger communities and 25% for smaller communities, from a funding source approved for road and bridge construction. They must also submit an INDOT-approved asset management plan for maintaining existing roads and bridges.
State law requires annually that 50% of the available matching funds be awarded to communities within counties with a population of 50,000 or fewer. State lawmakers identified long-term funding for Community Crossings as part of House Enrolled Act 1002, passed by the legislature and signed into law by Holcomb in April 2017.
The Region also received 18 grants in the first round of 2019 funding, many of which put recipient communities at or near the $1 million annual limit.
The list of all communities receiving matching funds in the 2019 July call for projects is online at in.gov/indot/communitycrossings.
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Lake County: $1,000,000
LaPorte County: $1,000,000
Porter County: $182,950
Beverly Shores: $182,216.25
Burns Harbor: $1,000,000
Dune Acres: $149,630.74
Lake Station: $999,942.01
New Chicago: $150,103.93
Ogden Dunes: $316,814.70
St. John: $1,000,000