INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Eric Holcomb wants to create a new port on the Ohio River, build a new bridge to Kentucky, and turn the South Shore Railroad in northwest Indiana into two sets of tracks.
The huge investments in infrastructure are part of the economic plan from the Republican candidate for governor which Democrats call “more of the same.”
The Holcomb plan does borrow heavily from plans put forward by outgoing governor Mike Pence. It comes without a price tag and with no clearly identified source of funding.
Holcomb says he is trying to set a vision for the next 10 years and that economic growth will help pay for it. He revealed his plans after touring Develpertown, a venture development firm in Broad Ripple.
One thing the plans don’t include is a big increase in state spending.
“We must absolutely, absolutely pass another honestly balanced budget,” said Holcomb. “That will be priority number one. And we’ll maintain our healthy $2.2 billion reserve.”
“This plan grows Indiana,” said GOP Lt. Governor candidate Suzanne Crouch. “This plan diversifies our economy.”
Outside Develpertown a representative for the workers who are losing their jobs at the Carrier Corporation joined with Democrats to criticize the Holcomb approach.
“Nothing’s gonna change with Holcomb,” said Chuck Jones of the United Steelworkers Union.
“Holcomb has said that he is quite proud of Mike Pence’s record,” said Democratic Party spokesman, Drew Anderson.
“And he’s here to carry out the agenda that’s been carried out for the last eight or 10 years without change,” said Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis.)
One source of contention is Holcomb’s resistance to new civil rights protections for the LGBT community. He says business leaders aren’t concerned about them.
“I tend to spend very little time where I view a zero percent probability of making progress,” he said.
And he chose to make his announcement on a day when the Indiana unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent.
One area where Holcomb is not following the example of Mike Pence is on taxes. Pence brags that he cut taxes every year as governor. Holcomb says he won’t pursue a tax cut, saying he’s “good with where we are right now.”