READI 2.0: The Power of Regionalism Pushing Indiana Towards the Horizon

July 21, 2023
Angelica Letcher

The Indiana General Assembly recently budgeted an additional $500 million for the state’s Regional Economic Acceleration & DevelopmentInitiative, otherwise known as READI. This investment comes off the heels of theGeneral Assembly’s initial $500 million rollout of the program in 2021, funding projects and programs across 17 regions in Indiana.

Whether a specific project is intended to enhance quality of life, quality of place or quality of opportunity, those projects that were or will be funded by the READI program are meant to build capacity and strengthenIndiana’s economic prosperity and resiliency. From Terre Haute to Richmond,Evansville to Fort Wayne, and every region in between, these funds are meant to make Indiana an even better place to live, work and play.

In round one, READI showed its tremendous potential to leverage public and private investments for the greater economic development picture. To date, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has received requests totaling $484 million for a total of 358 projects across all17 regions. Looking at the bigger picture, these requests have leveraged roughly $12.1 billion in total investments, equating to a 24-to-1 ratio of private to public investments.

This means that for every dollar the state has invested inREADI, an additional 24 dollars have been generated from private funds to support these crucial projects, which, in turn, brings more jobs, talent and economic growth to each respective region across the state. While it is still far too early to gauge READI’s overall impact across Indiana, it is fair to say that the first round will have an exponential impact in propelling Indiana into the future.

As showcased in the first round of READI, the program did an exceptional job of promoting these regional and strategic investments. With an eye on the horizon, regions and communities have a lot to look forward to in what has become known as READI 2.0. Recently, the IEDC shared more information on READI 2.0 and what each of the state’s regions can expect in this new round of funding. While there are many things certain to remain the same in this second round of funding, one big change will prove an important factor in project development: the source of funding.

In the first round of READI, the program was funded with dollars made available to the state through the federal American Rescue PlanAct (ARPA), which ultimately restricted the usage of these dollars to projects directly related to pandemic recovery. READI 2.0, on the other hand, is being funded solely through state dollars, which broadens eligibility and effectively unleashes the spirit of Hoosier creativity onto this economic development opportunity.

Furthermore, the IEDC identified that READI 2.0’s focus will be on infrastructure and capital projects—a focus that will certainly create opportunities for each region to uniquely position themselves as premier destinations for talent, businesses and tourism. Coupled with an initiative to create intentional growth plans, aptly named Regional Economic Acceleration andDevelopment Strategies, READI 2.0 stands to further enhance regional collaboration and promote projects with a high degree of economic development potential.

It is not every day that the state comes together to pursue a unified, yet regional, development strategy to push the state into the future. With the approval of READI 2.0, each region and local community has yet another unique opportunity to embrace their own strengths and pursue initiatives to bolster them. With a plethora of opportunities on Indiana’s horizon, there is one question – are you READI?

Eric Perry
Director of Government Relations
at RJL Solutions.
Indianapolis Office
150 West Market Street, Suite 700
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Terre Haute Office
 1125 Wabash Avenue
Terre Haute, IN 47807