Transportation officials in Indiana have called two public hearings in March to discuss the proposed Interstate 69 that will eventually connect Indianapolis to Evansville. The question on everyone’s mind is how the interstate extension would be paid for.
The Federal Highway Administration authorized the construction of the I-69 extension in 2004.
Gov. Mitch Daniels stated in 2005 that the route would most likely be a toll road, but that was before Daniels leasing of the Indiana Toll Road to private investors in 2006 for $3.85 billion.
Daniels announced in 2006 that I-69 should remain toll free – but only as a tradeoff for making the proposed Indiana Commerce Connector a privatized toll route in the Indianapolis metro area. That connector proposal has not progressed.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association believes the roadway should be funded through federal and state transportation funds and not with tolls.
Regardless of how the Indianapolis to Evansville portion of I-69 is paid for, it will not be completed for several years.
In the meantime, transportation officials will have public hearings on the environmental impact along two sections of the I-69 corridor. A public comment period will remain open until June 8 of this year.
“Section 2” of the proposal runs approximately 29 miles from state Route 64 near Oakland City northeast to U.S. 50 east of Washington, IN. A public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Eastern, March 19, at the Pike Central High School Cafeteria, 1810 state Route 56, Petersburg, IN 47567.
“Section 3” runs approximately 26 miles from U.S. 50 near Washington, IN, northeast to U.S. 231 near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center. The public hearing for Section 3 is scheduled for 5 p.m. Eastern, March 26, at the North Daviess Elementary School on state Route 58 between Elnora and Odon, IN.
Public comments are being accepted online at www.i69indyevn.org or in writing care of David Pluckebaum, The Corradino Group, P.O. Box 8464, Evansville, IN 47716.
– By David Tanner, staff writer