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Fed review finds Indiana highway land deals compliant

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A review published Wednesday found the prices that Indiana paid to buy land for the Interstate 69 extension and other federally funded highway projects met federal standards.

The Federal Highway Administration report found Indiana Department of Transportation records were adequate and sufficient to support prices paid to landowners and that the state records substantially complied with federal record-keeping guidelines.

In four cases, INDOT records were missing some documents that the agency eventually provided the review team comprised of FHA real estate staff based in Washington, D.C., Indiana, Georgia and Texas and members of INDOT's own real estate staff.

The review covered 50 land purchases over the last three years for projects that included the Interstate 69 extension to Evansville, the Hoosier Heartland Corridor in northern Indiana and the U.S. 31 expansion in Hamilton County north of Indianapolis.

The review began after The Indianapolis Star reported last year that INDOT had offered $7 million for 32 properties that appraisers had valued at $3.34 million.

INDOT already has taken steps to address issues identified during the review, the state agency said, "by supplementing parcel files with additional documentation, initiating an update of INDOT's Real Estate Manuals and planning to offer comprehensive right-of-way training for staff and consultants."

INDOT said in a news release that, "The report recommends that appraisers review any counter offers and additional written notices be provided to property owners."

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  1. The $104K to CRC would go toward debts service on $486M of existing debt they already have from other things outside this project. Keystone buys the bonds for 3.8M from CRC, and CRC in turn pays for the parking and site work, and some time later CRC buys them back (with interest) from the projected annual property tax revenue from the entire TIF district (est. $415K / yr. from just this property, plus more from all the other property in the TIF district), which in theory would be about a 10-year term, give-or-take. CRC is basically betting on the future, that property values will increase, driving up the tax revenue to the limit of the annual increase cap on commercial property (I think that's 3%). It should be noted that Keystone can't print money (unlike the Federal Treasury) so commercial property tax can only come from consumers, in this case the apartment renters and consumers of the goods and services offered by the ground floor retailers, and employees in the form of lower non-mandatory compensation items, such as bonuses, benefits, 401K match, etc.

  2. $3B would hurt Lilly's bottom line if there were no insurance or Indemnity Agreement, but there is no way that large an award will be upheld on appeal. What's surprising is that the trial judge refused to reduce it. She must have thought there was evidence of a flagrant, unconscionable coverup and wanted to send a message.

  3. As a self-employed individual, I always saw outrageous price increases every year in a health insurance plan with preexisting condition costs -- something most employed groups never had to worry about. With spouse, I saw ALL Indiana "free market answer" plans' premiums raise 25%-45% each year.

  4. It's not who you chose to build it's how they build it. Architects and engineers decide how and what to use to build. builders just do the work. Architects & engineers still think the tarp over the escalators out at airport will hold for third time when it snows, ice storms.

  5. http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/duke-energy-customers-angry-about-money-for-nothing

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