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Holcomb excited by lawmakers' willingness to put more money into READI program

Indiana Republican Governor Eric Holcomb smiles while speaking to someone at an outdoor event. Holcomb is a White man with light gray hair and beard, wearing glasses and a light blue button down shirt.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Gov. Eric Holcomb says the first round of READI grant funding attracted billions in private and local investment.

Indiana lawmakers appear poised to put significant money into another round of economic development projects.

That would mean more dollars for the READI program, which aims to improve quality of life to help attract and retain workers.

The first round of READI grants – $500 million, all in federal stimulus dollars – were awarded in late 2021. They funded 17 regional projects around the state.

Holcomb said that funding attracted billions in private and local investment. And he said the fact the projects are already underway makes selling legislators on another round isn’t hard.

“Then, when I saw the list of priorities, local projects that we had to cut because we only had $500 million – which sounds odd for me to even say, only $500 million – but we knew that there was dollars on the sidelines that could come off the sidelines, into the mix, if we only had more,” Holcomb said.

READ MORE: Holcomb's READI program ready for more funding in 2023 state budget

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Ball State economist Michael Hicks has studied READI’s predecessor, the Regional Cities Initiative, and plans to study the impact of READI once more time has passed.

“If they’re half as successful as Regional Cities, they’ll be one of the best investments the state’s made in economic development in its history,” Hicks said.

Lawmakers will write a new state budget beginning in January.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.