Indiana’s bicentennial projects are costing Hoosiers more than former Governor Mike Pence promised. That’s according to a new report from the Associated Press. Plans to pay for the projects have fallen apart, leaving the legislature to allocate $5.5M for the costs in the recently-signed state budget. The projects include the construction of a new plaza outside the Statehouse and upgrades to the state library.
Pence had proposed paying for the bicentennial projects with money generated by leasing out 340 state-owned cell towers. He also suggested raising money through a plan in which the company Agile Networks would expand high-speed Internet access to rural areas. Neither of those plans worked, leaving lawmakers this year to look for another way to pay the costs. The plaza has already been constructed and the library has been upgraded.
Republican senator Luke Kenley, who helped write the bill, reportedly told the AP that lawmakers had no other choice, saying “They did the work, so somebody had to pay for it.”
Other bicentennial projects are on shaky ground. There have been plans to construct a new state archives building as well as an Inn at Potato Creek State Park, but those plans may be on hold. In total, Pence had planned more than $53 million in bicentennial projects.