Indiana bill would revise I-69 route restriction

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, January 16, 2015

An Indiana House bill would nix a restriction in place for nearly a decade on the path of the Interstate 69 extension near Indianapolis.

Rep. John Price, R-Greenwood, has introduced a bill that would update a 2006 law that prohibits construction of the I-69 extension in southern Marion County. Specifically, HB1036 would remove a requirement that the General Assembly must first authorize construction of the roadway in Perry Township.

The rule was included in then-Gov. Mitch Daniels’ “Major Moves” initiative. The main component of the initiative was the lease of the Indiana Toll Road for 75 years in return for $3.85 billion.

Besides the toll lease, the governor got the green light to build an extension of I-69 with a requirement to shift the roadway west of Perry Township in southern Indianapolis.

Advocates said the requirement was necessary to avoid harm to the state Road 37 corridor. Instead, Sen. Pat Miller, R-Indianapolis, who was behind the path restriction eight years ago, wants the new highway to tie into Interstate 70.

The 142-mile highway slated to connect Evansville to Indianapolis is partly built. The first three sections, a 70-mile stretch linking Evansville to Crane, opened to traffic in 2012.

Sections four and five from Crane, southwest of Bloomington, to Martinsville are under construction.

Price is hopeful his bill could free up the Indiana Department of Transportation to instead run the final section of I-69 on the Indiana 37 corridor. He said the highway would bring economic development benefits to his district.

The state DOT is conducting an environmental impact review of route alternatives. The process is expected to take up to three years.

HB1036 is awaiting consideration in the House Roads and Transportation Committee.

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