Incoming Gov. Eric Holcomb makes first major speech since winning election

Indiana Governor-elect Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in Indianapolis. Holcomb won election over Democratic former state House Speaker John Gregg to continue a 12-year run of Republican governors in Indiana. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Incoming Gov. Eric Holcomb says his mission is to take Indiana to the “next level.” But the state’s current lieutenant governor has yet to offer specifics about how he plans to do that.

The Republican delivered his first major speech on Wednesday since November’s election.

Holcomb wants to solve the drug epidemic, develop the state’s economy, improve infrastructure and expand a pilot program offering preschool to poor children in five counties.

But he has not said how he wants to pay for such programs or the extent of his plans. State consultants say maintaining the state’s roads and bridges in their current condition will likely require a tax increase.

Holcomb says he will offer specifics in January and hasn’t yet because he wants to “get it right.”

INDIANPOLIS (AP) — A key Republican budget writer in the Indiana Senate says a tax increase is likely needed to pay for road and bridge improvements across the state.

State Sen. Luke Kenley said Indiana doesn’t have enough money to keep up maintenance of its existing roads and bridges — let alone undertake new projects.

GOP leaders who control the statehouse say crafting a long-term solution to the state’s infrastructure funding woes is a major priority.

Kenley said a gasoline tax increase and charging tolls to motorists are two possibilities.

Incoming Gov. Eric Holcomb says he also wants to fund roads. He has declined to say what his preferred approach is, promising instead to offer more details in January.

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