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Daniels Continues Toll I-69 With ICC Plan

Political Game of Musical Toll Roads Is Not Fooling Hoosiers

Contacts:
Brenda Buster, Martinsville business owner 765-349-5920
Thomas Tokarski, Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads 812-825-9555

Governor Daniels’ proposal to build I-69 as a privately operated toll road drew a firestorm of opposition from citizens and legislators throughout central and southwestern Indiana. It also contributed to a punishing loss for Republicans at the polls . Unfortunately, the Governor has not learned from his mistakes. He has thrown up an even more destructive plan for privatizing Indiana’s roads and building I-69.

**Daniels’ proposed Indiana Commerce Connector (ICC) is, in fact, the northern segment of the proposed I-69 extension. A previous national study recommended the exact corridor that Governor Daniels is calling his ICC as a route for bypassing Indianapolis with I-69, with the segment from Martinsville to I-70 added (“Corridor 18 Special Issues Study” Chapter 6, page 6-2. Wilbur Smith Associates with HNTB Corporation, 1997, see: http://www.i69tour.org/sis8_ch6.pdf ). The cost given in the study is $1.2 billion. The cost given by Governor Daniels is between $1 to $1.5 billion. This shows clearly that not only is the ICC part of I-69 but also that the cost estimate is nearly 10 years out-of-date.

Getting around Indianapolis has always been a problem for the I-69 proposal. The Indiana Commerce Connector is a ruse to get I-69 around Indy without calling it I-69. The ICC is a major expansion of the I-69 proposal that will require a new study of all the expanded costs and impacts.

**Daniels’ plan is a focal point of opposition to privatizing our roads. “Daniels’ proposal to find other sources of funding for the I-69 boondoggle is ludicrous. He’s feeding corn to a dead rooster.” stated Brenda Buster of Martinsville. She continues: “Opposition to Daniels’ new plan has already begun. Why should citizens in distant counties give up their homes, farms and land to pay for a highway in another part of the state? Those other counties won’t have to pay a toll for their highway but we will. It just isn’t fair and we won’t stand for it.”

Morgan County resident Darby Simpson, whose children are now the seventh generation to live on potentially affected farmland that has been in his family for 175 years, states: “The Governor is saying that if we don’t do this, Indiana will be a poor state and therefore won’t be a place where people want to live because there won’t be good jobs. I guess that makes the 6 million or so living here oblivious to the fact that they do choose to live in Indiana.”

**INDOT’s own Toll Road Re-Evaluation Report for I-69 revealed numerous negative impacts of toll roads. The same principles and impacts will apply to this new toll road proposal. Governor Daniels plan to build I-69 using a public-private partnership fell flat because I-69 is not economically feasible. Outer loops in numerous cities and have led to major transportation and land use problems. It has huge potential for negative impacts for all of central Indiana. The ICC would be a major sprawl generator with economic, environmental and social impacts on the entire Indianapolis metropolitan area and surrounding counties.

**Toll roads don’t solve congestion, they manipulate it for profit. Corporations only build roads that they know they will profit from. It is to the toll road operator’s advantage to have congestion continue on existing roads so more drivers will be forced to pay to use the toll road. Non-compete clauses in toll road contracts insure that local roads will remain congested as an incentive for drivers to use the toll road. Congestion on I-465 will remain and probably worsen if the I-69/ICC is built.

**The I-69/ICC project will require the state to use eminent domain condemnations for private profit. This attempted land grab will be bitterly contested by affected landowners.

**Daniels’ proposal would destroy thousands more acres of valuable farmland and forests for another unnecessary highway with dubious economic benefits. I-69/ICC, would be environmentally destructive and fiscally and socially irresponsible.

“The Indiana Commerce Connector scheme to fund I-69 could be a subject for Comedy Central, stated Thomas Tokarski. “This political game of musical toll roads would be comical if it wasn’t such a waste of our tax dollars, our land and devastating to our democracy. The Daniels’ Plan is pushing us headlong into the past. It is not a viable plan for the future transportation needs of Indiana.”

 

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