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New infrastructure plans could end up costing more in Elkhart County

GOSHEN, Ind.- Infrastructure week is underway according to the White House. President Trump will call for $200 billion in new federal funds that will ultimately bring new investment in infrastructure.

This impacts Michiana, especially Elkhart County.

County Commissioner Mike Yoder says it’s way too soon to know exactly how much money will be allocated to the state, but did break down what federal funds are used for.

“Typically federal dollars are not used for local roads,” says Yoder.

Yoder adds federal dollars are used for bigger projects; other projects are covered thorough the use of economic development income tax money or local money.

“When you improve an intersection that’s 1 million up to 2 million dollars,” he says. “So any place where we have a high level of accidents will apply for federal dollars.”

But what’s in store for the future? Yoder says something that they have used federal dollars for and will continue to do so is a project in Dunlap.

“A grade separation in Dunlap to help with safety and issues getting across the railroad tracks across that area.”

Another project is County Road 17. “We’d like to take that all the way to Kosciusko County border line. So we have maybe 6 more miles to go,” says Yoder. “We’re applying for some dollars to extend that.”

He adds Elkhart County has been on the safer side when it comes to road improvements. According to him the county has been able to keep up with their bridges.

“Without a doubt we’re a little short, we’re a lot short on our bridge fund but none of our bridges are in the point of going to fall down.”

However, Yoder explains there could be somewhat of a ‘downside’ to federal dollars.

“They come with higher regulations that add cost. They don’t really add safety, they don’t really add anything to the project,” says Yoder. “Sometimes 30 to 40 percent more than locally financed.”

There is no cap to local projects, but there is a limited amount of money allocated throughout the state.

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