September 23, 2015 4:30 PM, EDT

Did Indiana Spend $71 Million on Defective Asphalt?

Gov. Mike Pence by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

Indiana roads are crumbling prematurely, and lawmakers want to know if the state bought $71 million in defective asphalt.

The Indiana Department of Transportation is investigating 88 roads that might have been paved with asphalt that crumbles and cracks years earlier than it should, according to The Indianapolis Star.

INDOT is concerned the blacktop might not have been mixed with enough binder, a sticky substance that keeps the rocks in asphalt together.

Although INDOT is looking into the matter, lawmakers are calling for an independent investigation, since INDOT hired contractors for the paving jobs in question.

Sen. Carlin Yoder (R-Middlebury) said the probe should be handled by an investigator “without ties to INDOT or the contractors and with some expertise in chemistry.”

Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) told The Star that the state owes it to taxpayers to find out who is at fault.

“If people don’t have confidence that money we spend on road funding is being spent well, then they won’t support additional funding, and I don’t blame them,” Soliday said. “You keep digging to find out which it is. We are going to need a clear explanation for the public to move forward.”

Gov. Mike Pence said the state will do just that.

“Hoosiers may be assured that our administration will continue to work with federal highway officials to make sure that taxpayers get what they paid for in road improvements and that those responsible for any deficiencies are held strictly accountable,” Pence said. “Hoosier motorists and taxpayers deserve nothing less.”