Cutting corners on the I-69 extension

October 23, 2009
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Gov. Mitch Daniels is raising eyebrows in the Evansville area for ramrodding a section of the Interstate 69 extension ahead of schedule by a whopping three years.

The 68-mile stretch from Evansville to the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Crane now is expected to be built by 2012. In other words, nearly half the distance to Indianapolis would be completed by Daniels’ final year in office.

The push is so preliminary that the Department of Transportation hasn’t started the drawings for parts of the Evansville-to-Crane leg, let alone acquired the land or permits. Still, the department’s deputy commissioner for major programs, Samuel Sarvis, told Evansville Courier & Press editors this month that the target can be met.

And the project will be done in typical Daniels fashion, the lowest cost possible. That means using the same firm to design and build the road, which will allow construction to begin when the designs aren’t so much as half-complete.

Pavement will be thin at first because planners anticipate few trucks until the entire road is finished to Indianapolis. More pavement can be added later. The decision between concrete and asphalt also will be heavily influenced by cost.

How do you feel about the plans? Many people in southwestern reaches of the state are grateful the long-discussed project is finally moving ahead. But will future taxpayers wish the state spent more money up front?

 

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  • Build it and they will come
    I think that Daniels wants to get the ball rolling. I can't blame him for that. If it doesn't get built, we will regret that in 20 years.
  • I think anything that gets the road built is good. Pavement thickness is not as big an issue now as getting it built. Adding asphalt in the top when needed will not be a big issue, and hopefully it will shut up the naysayers or at least make their arguements moot.
    • paper thin
      If you're going to build it, you have to build it right. So what's the state going to do? Are they going to have the ribbon cutting and immediately send out the construction workers to fix this thing? This makes zero sense.

      If they're really trying to save money just make I69 gravel..they can always go back and lay concrete.
    • major moves indeed
      They've been talking about I-69 in Evansville for 20 years becasue of studies and environmental delays. We have a Governor who wants to get this done, the next Gov. may not. It is much easier for foes to dealy the project again if it is not started than to stop it midway through.

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    1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

    2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

    3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

    4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

    5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

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