Businesses from around the world are coming to Indiana now because our costs of living and doing business are low and the quality of our workforce is high. This is great news for Hoosier workers. But we know the world will not stand still, and those who don't keep up will be left behind.
For all our growing strength in high tech too many Hoosier businesses are having trouble finding the skilled workers they need to grow--not just potential scientists and engineers but also coders, machinists, mechanics and welders.
I will work with you to establish a plan that preserves what we have, finishes commitments we have made, and invests in the new projects for the future that ensures Indiana remains The Crossroads of America. These include projects in every quadrant of our state: upgrades of US 30 from Ft. Wayne to Valparaiso, and 31 to South Bend, additional lanes on I-70 and I-65, and completing I-69 from Evansville to Ft. Wayne.
The fact is, existing sources of revenue are just not keeping up. If we ask Hoosiers to invest a little more, to meet the need, the return is going to be well worth it--for them, for our communities, and for our economy.
A Gregg/Hale administration plans to address this need head on. Local governments will be able to apply to the Hoosier State Infrastructure Bank for water infrastructure improvement projects.
There are lots of ways to pay for infrastructure, and I expect we will have a healthy debate. I think when you have money in the bank and the best credit rating in America, the last place you should look to pay for roads and bridges is the wallets and pocketbooks of hardworking Hoosiers.
But infrastructure is more than roads. Indiana's ports have also been spectacular catalysts for job growth. That is why I have called upon the Ports of Indiana to vigorously explore the building of a fourth port in the far southeastern part of our state, which could unleash enormous economic investment throughout the southeast region of our state.
The governor also issued his first veto of the year in rejecting a bill that would allow electronic wagering on horse races. Pence said he believed the measure represented an expansion of gambling in the state.
Pence's decision on the casino legislation was in question because of his often-stated stance against an expansion of gambling in the state. Pence said he believed the measure met his standard and he wouldn't issue a veto. "From early in the legislative process, I made it clear that I would not stand in the way of reforms that would allow these businesses to remain competitive with surrounding states so long as it did not constitute an expansion of gaming in Indiana," Pence said in a statement.
Mourdock insisted that he wasn't suggesting those programs should therefore be eliminated. After all, he said, neither the space program nor the Federal Bureau of Investigation are in the constitution, either, but he supports them.
The last contract on the Hoosier Heartland Corridor will be let next summer and the entire project finished by 2013. The last contracts on U.S. 31 from South Bend through Kokomo will be let this year, and we have accelerated completion of the entire corridor into 2015. I-69 will be open for traffic from Evansville to Crane, as will the entire Fort to Port highway in Northeast Indiana. The Sherman-Minton Bridge will be rebuilt and reopened by March and, upriver, an agreement on a new bridge from Utica to Louisville will be in place, cementing Indiana's place at the forefront of the public-private partnership movement.
We will build the state's 3,000th mile of bike and hiking trails, and reach our goal of a trail within 15 minutes of every Hoosier.
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