Kosciusko County using gas tax revenues for road work

Kosciusko County is gearing up for plans to use additional tax revenues for road work from the recently increased state gas tax.

The county is forecasted to receive as much as $2.27 million in the first year as revenues begin to flow into local coffers after the state increased the gas tax by 10 cents on July 1.

That estimate comes from an analysis from the Indiana Local Technical Assistance Program at Purdue University.

The $2.3 million increase for the county is the second biggest compared to others in northeast Indiana, topped only by Allen County, which includes Fort Wayne, and is slated to see $4.2 million more in the coming year.

Kosciusko County Highway Superintendent Scott Tilden said he was informed by the state auditor that the county can expect to see about a 50 percent increase in the amount the county has been spending on paving and other materials related to road work.

Local and state officials have focused in recent years on beefing up road maintenance spending.

The state began increasing some funds last year soon after the county had established a wheel tax. Approval of the state gas tax hike, though, is a huge boost.

Tilden’s approach to using the additional money is pretty simple as the county works to recover from a lack of adequate funding for roads in past years.

He said he expects 90 percent of the new money will be used for road paving projects and road maintenance.

“We’re just adding more miles to the list that we’re going to do,” Tilden said.

On Tuesday, he identified the first project that will rely in part on the new tax revenues when he outlined plans for two projects that will be part of a state Community Crossings grant application that will be submitted this week.

Tilden has proposed resurfacing a 7.5-mile stretch of CR 900N between Ind. 15 and Ind. 19 next year. If the grant is awarded, he said he plans to use new revenues to cover the local match.

The other project is a three-mile resurfacing of CR 1000W from CR 700S to 1000S. The county plans to use money from a special distribution of the local option income tax that arrived more than a year ago for its matching share.

Work on CR 1000W is slated to happen later this year if the grant money is approved.

Tilden said the state is expected to announce winners of the grant money by the end of August.

The combined cost of both projects is expected to be slightly more than $2 million, Tilden said.

The commissioners approved plans for the grant application on Tuesday.