Toll road funds are for transportation only, Mourdock says

An undergraduate science degree is an unusual educational background for an aspiring politician, but state treasurer Republican candidate Richard Mourdock said it's been helpful.

Mourdock said if he is elected, he hopes to work to provide incentives for technology entrepreneurs. For example, he said entrepreneurs researching ethanol could receive help from the state with paying back interest on loans.

Mourdock, who graduated from Ball State with a master's degree in geology, is self-employed as a private consultant in the environmental and energy business.

"Very simply, new jobs, new wealth, new economy is generated with new technology," Mourdock said. "It's the itty bitty savings that make the difference between technology and deployment."

If elected, another of Mourdock's main goals is to implement a statewide reverse-911 system, he said. The idea is that once 911 dispatchers are alerted about a danger in a certain area, people who live in that vicinity would receive a call warning them.

Mourdock points to an incident last November, when 11 people were killed by a tornado at 1 a.m. in Vanderburgh County, where Mourdock lives and twice served as a county commissioner. He said he believes some of these people could possibly have been saved had a reverse-911 system existed at the time.

"The technology is out there," Mourdock said. "We simply need to find a way to make it happen in various communities."

Another one of Mourdock's priorities has to do with Major Moves, the controversial lease of the I-69 toll road. Mourdock said he believes any money made from the project needs to be used for transportation. He wants to make sure politicians from either parties don't use the money for other purposes.

"It's happened before," Mourdock said. "Our (legislature) has a history of taking people's money, and we can't let that happen."

Mourdock is also supportive of a statewide investment plan that would allow parents to save for their children's college educations tax-free, according to his Web site.

Mourdock said he believes Indiana is on the right track -- thousands of jobs have been created, and the budget is balanced for the first time in eight years -- and promised to keep it moving in that direction.

"I'm not a bureaucrat. I'm not a patient person," he said. "I'm a guy that wants to see Indiana government keep going the way it has"

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