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Gregg's running mate in Fort Wayne to pitch transportation plan

Friday, September 21, 2012 - 6:53 am

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg's running mate appeared in Fort Wayne on Thursday to help roll out Gregg's infrastructure plan, which they said could harness up to $3.5 billion for transportation projects.

State Sen. Vi Simpson, D-Bloomington, held a news conference at the Spring Street Bridge construction site in the city's west side. The Democratic ticket was crisscrossing the state this week to unveil the latest piece of Gregg's "Hoosier Handshake" plan.

Among other proposals, Gregg's infrastructure plan includes the creation of a $500 million fund to provide low- or no-interest loans to Hoosier communities for street, bridge and other transportation projects, his campaign said in a news release.

The campaign also claimed that pouring money into infrastructure work could create more than 97,000 jobs for Hoosiers.

"It is important to remember that when we talk about infrastructure, we are talking about quality jobs," Simpson said in a statement. "We create quality jobs when we are building or improving our infrastructure, and we create jobs by having infrastructure in place that Hoosier companies can use."

Gregg said he would grow the Hoosier State Infrastructure Fund to $500 million by diverting money from the state's Motor Vehicle Highway and Next Generation Trust funds.

He also said he would use the Next Generation Trust Fund to guarantee private spending on important projects, a plan he estimated could leverage $3 billion in seed money.