Green group: I-69 will drain money from other projects

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana's 142-mile extension of Interstate 69 between Indianapolis and Evansville will siphon hundreds of millions of dollars away from other road and bridge projects in coming years, according to a report from an environmental group.

The report by the Hoosier Environmental Council concludes that the highway's nearly $3 billion estimated cost will consume one-fifth of funding available for state highway construction and maintenance projects between 2012 and 2014. In 2013 alone, nearly 30 percent of Indiana's highway funds will go toward I-69, the report said.

The result will be that many projects across the rest of the state will be stuck in "shovel ready" mode, or never leave the drawing board, said Tim Maloney, the council's senior policy director.

Maloney said in the report released Monday that dedicating a fifth of the state's highway funds to a single project over the next few years "will imperil the state's ability to fulfill its responsibility to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions to other areas of Indiana."

By the time Gov. Mitch Daniels leaves office in January 2013, Indiana will have spent nearly $1 billion to build about 90 miles to the highway between Evansville and the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center in Martin County, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.

That means Daniels' successor will be left to figure out how to pay to finish the remaining sections and determine the pace at which that work will be completed.

A spokesman for Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, who is running to succeed Daniels, said the congressman will unveil more detailed plans for how he would handle the remaining stretch of the I-69 extension closer to the 2012 elections.

For now, Pence said he considers the project a top priority and has supported it since late Gov. Frank O'Bannon announced the planned route in January 2003.

"I have always believed that roads mean jobs," he said. "... Finishing I-69 will create jobs in Indiana, and I believe this project should be completed."

Former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg of Sandborn, a Democrat who is considering running for governor, is still catching up on issues related to the highway but considers the highway project "extremely important," said spokesman Steve Campbell.

"Every time he's in Southern Indiana, he says this comes up. He's talked to people in Bloomington and Evansville, all up and down the route. He wants to get back up to speed," Campbell said.

Jim Wallace, a Fishers businessman who is also running for governor, called the I-69 extension "one of the top priorities, I think, for economic development for the state."

He said he is working on a set of infrastructure projects the state could complete for $500 million and will announce that in the fall.

Daniels has been able to build the first four sections of I-69 at such a rapid pace because of the state's 2006 leasing of the Indiana Toll Road in northern Indiana for 75 years that generated $3.85 billion to speed up projects across the state.

Of that money, $700 million was set aside for I-69. That will cover much of the roughly $1 billion to build it between Evansville and Crane

That money, though, will have run out by the time the next governor is looking to pay for what's left.

Because the state isn't far along in the planning process on those sections, no detailed and up-to-date cost estimate exists.

However, based on plans released in recent years, the cost of building the highway between Crane and Indianapolis would likely be between $800 million and $1.7 billion, with much of that coming in the suburban area closest to Indianapolis.

Will Wingfield, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said the state might have a draft environmental impact statement started, or even finished, by the time Daniels leaves office.


  • opposing his ideology
    I don't oppose building the roads, altough there are better projects out there for $3B than I-69. I oppose his hobbit ideology that says that government can't do anything right, and the fact that he does not want to pay for it but then gladly accepts funding. According to his ideology, we should let private sector build a toll road. So be it!
  • Get Over It
    Get over it people, the road is gonna get built. It has already been started and they aren't going to leave a stub from Evansville to Bloomington. The connection to 465 will happen now or later. Move on to your next enviro-hysteria de jour.
  • YEAH for Interstates
    I-69 extension will take maintenance monies from other highways in the state as I-65 took from US31 south and US52 and US41 north, I-69 north from SR37, I-70 from US40, I-74 from US50 and US136, and I-465 from what? Shadeland Ave?? I am thankful maintenance dollars were diverted from these old technology highways that are less safe to travel and would take considerably more time to get from point A to B under the same traffic density as we now see on the interstates.
    If new highways do not create new jobs then what is the result of General Motors building an assembly plant in Fort Wayne at I-69 and I-469 interchange, numerous distribution warehouses along I-65 between Indy and Lebanon, Subaru (SIA) building an assembly plant in Lafayette on I-65, Honda building an assembly plant in Greensburg on I-74, etc.? These companies want good and easily accessible transportation routes so they can be competitive in the marketplace, without good highways we would not have seen the jobs all of these companies brought to Indiana.
    To me, those opposing the I-69 extension to Evansville also oppose the addition of jobs in the areas served by the new highway. I admit it will save time not having to travel to the back hills of Tennessee to see trees, rivers, mountains, and poverty by keeping all of these in southwest Indiana, but if I-69 is built the only one of these to be reduced in an appreciable amount is poverty.
  • YEAH FOR I-69
    You guys are nuts! I-69 not only is one of the best ideas and will increase business in the areas, but will bring more traffic and more tourists!! This will bring more JOBS and MONEY!! Thank You for those who continue to support this needed road!
  • The drain continues
    SO we are told that no matter who succeeds Mitch, we will be stuck digging our own grave. Roads don't create meaningful jobs and lose money annually. We have thousands of miles of roads that don't have any jobs along them, why are we dumping more onto the market? Why will this be different? Why are the tight republicans and tea partiers supporting a $3 BILLION project when Indiana is bleeding jobs and education and income? If you vote for anyone who supports this project, you have voted Indiana at a loss. What a joke of a state and leader.
  • hobbit
    I thought Pence was a tea party hobbit. I guess he is ok with government subsidizing Indiana car drivers. He just doesn't want to pay for it.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!