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Groups hope to revive Indiana Commerce Connector

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A group of central Indiana manufacturers and warehousing companies is pushing to revive a proposal for a highway that would link the region's major interstates and communities.

Logistics group Conexus Indiana and a newly formed central Indiana logistics council hope to spark renewed interest in the Indiana Commerce Connector, which then-Gov. Mitch Daniels proposed in 2006.

Daniels dropped the plan after it proved unpopular in the counties where the highway would have been constructed.

But the commerce connector's new proponents argue that building it promises to improve shipping service in the region by giving trucks another route to get between Indiana's multiple interstates.

Conexus Indiana vice president David Holt said the connector would also relieve traffic congestion by allowing trucks to avoid areas where traffic bottlenecks at interchanges with Interstate 465, which encircles Indianapolis.

Holt said trucks heading in and out of warehouses and factories located in areas such as Plainfield, Franklin or Fishers would be able to save time by traveling around Indianapolis and would produce less pollution because they wouldn't be sitting in traffic.

"It would also have an impact of lowering repair costs on those particular interstates and a lot of positive impacts. For a distributor, time is money. You want to be able to move a product faster and efficiently," Holt told the Daily Journal.

Although the project isn't a priority for the Indiana Department of Transportation, and there's no money set aside for it, INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield said the connector highway remains on a list of possible future INDOT projects.

The highway was originally proposed as a toll road starting at Interstate 69 near Pendleton northeast of Indianapolis and running through Hancock, Shelby, Johnson and Morgan counties before linking up with Interstate 70 southwest of Indianapolis. Gov. Daniels dropped the idea in 2007 after landowners in multiple counties opposed the plan and the $1 billion project struggled to gain support among state lawmakers.

Charles Canary, a former Johnson County council member, said the commerce connector was overwhelmingly unpopular among the county's landowners and that hasn't changed.

Canary, who farms land south of Franklin, said a new multiple-lane highway would take away thousands of acres of farmland and lower the value of adjacent properties.

"Why do we have to go out and destroy property? And I mean that. Destroy. They're going to destroy the property. The land, it will be worth nothing," he said.

Holt said the initial plan for the commerce connector didn't include many details about the proposal, including its benefits. He said Conexus Indiana will compile that information so that people can learn as much as possible about the idea before they're asked to consider spending tax dollars to build it.

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  • Let Private Enterprise Do It
    I advocate applying the same standards to new road construction that some folks apply to mass transit projects. Let private enterprise build it, using their own funds, purchasing all right of way from willing sellers, and paying for all of it, including "externalities", with fees on users. If it can meet that standard, then by all means, build away.
  • Needed Infrastructure
    Given that I commute from Madison county to downtown Indy and back daily, I fully the commerce connector (as I did back in 2007). The I-69, I-70 and I-65 corridors are already crammed with trucking traffic and that traffic will only continue to grow. I usually oppose toll roads, but could support this effort if rates were reasonable. That being said, we need to finish the I-69 extension first.
  • Right
    Lee is correct. The west to north route makes the most sense. The largely completed Reagan north to Whitestown, across the straight shot 146th street to 69, before it hits the extra busy Castleton-Fishers corridor. This takes it by the indy and Noblesville airports, north of the 31/Keystone intersection, and right by Deer Creek, thus relieving congestion in an area that has already reach critical mass. Let the eminent domain condemnations begin!
  • Wow
    So let's get this straight: shoot down rail so Indianapolitans can't implement mass transit for their own region, but let's lobby for useless additional beltways in the middle of nowhere. Gothcha. Take notes people. The Ruralpublicans are NOT your friends!!!
  • New way of planning
    INDOT cannot keep engaging in building new roads when the State can't even cover the maintenance cost for the roads we currently have. Indiana cannot afford to keep subsidizing sprawling and inefficient infrastructure, only to have companies abandon old areas of the City for the shiny new taxpayer funded locations with new utilities and public services. This game of lobby groups paying for politicians to have taxpayers fund these pet road projects is getting old.
  • 267 expansion to 4 lanes, Hendricks County I65 to Mooresville
    Why not expand 267 to a corridor North South through Hendricks County and/or Ronald Reagan, make Ronald Reagan a limited access highway for truck traffic and vehicle traffic. The real way to fix this is to have longer off and on ramps on I465 to park the cars going off onto roads off I465 and/or have traffic off the offramps streamlined onto the roads they are going into. The problem is the funnel of traffic going in and out is too small. Perhaps the love affair with cars should have a huge wheel tax and passenger tax attached to it, in other words, no large vehicles with one passenger going to and from work, car pooling, parking lots to go to at strategic locations for carpooling, bus service, light rail, etc. The mere fact is the only way to have mass transit is tax those who insist on using cars for repeat work trips to the same place year after year and have the mass transit at break even/free to those who would use it and have the drivers pay for their using it. Penalize one driver vehicles that have room for 4-6 people and reward those who carpool, use buses, rail, etc. Those who need public transportation and who currently have to walk miles to work would get free transit to help them survive.
  • trails to rails initiative
    That is a really dumb comment. There aren't enough open corridors to build rail access. The only way to do it would to take abandoned tracks that are now trails and convert them to rails, the Monon, B&O, etc. which is much more effective given the general public will not use these trails that much and the benefit is not there. How about trails to rails.
  • the good of the many outweighs the good of the few
    I believe it should go through counties that want it, how about around the West side, bypass the counties on the East side, they don't want it, put it through hendricks to I65, then to US 31 North, then I69 Let the Souteast part of Indianapolis languis and once it is built, drift away into non competitiveness while the West and North side thrive. The connection outside I465 from I65 South and the new I69 to the Airport via I70 East, West, Ronald Reagan to I74 then I65 and then around the North. The Ronald Reagan is almost built, why not finish it, expand it to 4 lanes all the way from I70 to I65 and it would be a limited access truck corridor through Hendricks Boone County. The Northern segment could go through Whitetown, Sheridan and on to Westfield and then to I69. The only way to relieve I465 from trucking and have it mostly for car traffice is to do this.
  • Only if 100% privately funded.
    No way! Let's build high speed trains to connect PEOPLE to surrounding cities inside and outside of this state. We don't need another highway to cater to corporations. I hope this finally gets axed for good. If those companies want to pay for it themselves, then go for it as long as you can mitigate environmental concerns. Not one penny of taxpayer funds should go into this though. We already give way too much away to these big companies. And they still want more tax cuts! Ridiculous!!

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