Federal program banned at McCordsville Underpass
McCORDSVILLE – Officials no longer plan to pursue a federal program for an underground passage under the city’s rail tracks in light of their representatives in Congress opposing the funding mechanism.
But they’re not giving up on a solution for the cumbersome crossing on Mt. Comfort Road near Broadway Street in the heart of the city, estimated to cost over $ 40 million.
City leaders had debated whether the project would be a good fit for funding community projects, the recent revival of Congress goals – a practice in which lawmakers direct federal spending to a specific project or institution in their country. The city had even asked the entities if they would be willing to share the cost of a lobbyist to defend the project (contrary to an article in the Daily Reporter last month, which incorrectly reported that the lobbyist was being hired).
Many Republicans in Congress, including those representing the region, don’t want anything to do with funding community projects, however.
“We’re still looking for funding,” said Tonya Galbraith, City of McCordsville director. “It doesn’t seem like one of the pots we can access, but we’re still looking for funding.”
The office of Representative Greg Pence, R-Indiana, whose district includes McCordsville, told the Daily Reporter last month that community project funding is too reminiscent of “the era of pet projects and barrel spending. pork”.
Senator Mike Braun, R-Indiana, tweeted in March that he was “absolutely against” the program.
“You can’t let any senator put pork in spending bills,” Braun said. “This is how it worked even before we had a trillion dollar deficit. Imagine what it would look like now. “
Politico reported last week that Senator Todd Young, R-Indiana, is undecided on the funding mechanism.
Regardless, the deadline for submitting projects for funding was late last month. According to an article published Friday, May 14 in the Washington Post, more than 300 Republicans and House Democrats are seeking nearly $ 21 billion in funding for projects, resurrecting a mechanism of so-called “benchmarks” that was once so maligned by Congress dismantled it. About half of Republicans in the House and all but one Democrats have made demands.
Galbraith said the city is exploring other potential federal and state funding opportunities.
The first is the Indiana Regional Economic Development and Acceleration Initiative, or READI, which has $ 500 million for programs, initiatives and projects in which neighboring counties, towns and villages partner.
The city is considering possible partners and determining if the funds could be used for regional infrastructure, which Galbraith has added to Mt. Comfort Road certainly is.
“The sticking point for moving traffic through the corridor is right there,” Galbraith said of the crossing, where a train passes almost once an hour and takes an average of almost three minutes.
Large developments and plans for more have accelerated along and near Mt. Comfort Road for the past two years. The corridor also includes an Interstate 70 interchange and an Indianapolis regional airport. Along with McCordsville, the towns of New Palestine and Cumberland are not far from the road.
There may also be funding opportunities through the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization, Galbraith said.
She added that she had noticed an increasing emphasis on infrastructure lately, which she found encouraging.
“It seems like people in high places are focused on infrastructure needs, so we just want to be a part of that conversation,” she said.