I-69 Truth Squad Alert

TRUE: "If the project were built on a pay-as-you-go basis with state funds, it would require the equivalent of a 5¢ gas tax increase dedicated entirely to I-69 to complete the project in 14 years. There are no other state funds available for this project." (State Senator Lawrence Borst, Chair of Senate Finance Committee; Southside Times; October 30, 2003)

FALSE: INDOT Commissioner Bryan Nicol has attempted to minimize the cost of I-69 by claiming: "The $1.8 billion estimate accounts for only 5 percent of our entire 25-year plan, including state and federal dollars." (Bloomington Herald-Times, February 1, 2004)

Explanation: INDOT Commissioner Nicol is misleading the public when he says that the cost of I-69 will be only 5% of INDOT's long-range plan. First: only a fraction (21 — 25%) of INDOT's annual budget has been typically available to fund new road (or "expansion") projects. Spending billions on one highway means much less money for other roads. As Sen. Borst said in his op-ed referenced above: "to fund I-69 INDOT would have to pledge all of its 'expansion' funds...to I-69 every year for 14 years to complete the project."

Second: INDOT's long-range plan is based on spending money it doesn't have from sources it hasn't identified. Unbelievably, INDOT's plan assumes as much as a 300% increase in expansion funds over 2002 levels in the year 2011. INDOT even admits it is changing course from its normally conservative fiscal forecasting, and also acknowledges the uncertainty of future funding: "...it is important to note that the fiscal forecast assumes additional funding from some source will occur in the future. The time and amount of the additional funds are not forecasted." (INDOT 2000-2025 Long Range Plan, pp 133 — 135) INDOT is like a gambler who buys a mansion on the assumption that he'll finally start winning money in the future. Problem is that INDOT is gambling with your money.

Third: If INDOT had all the money it needed for I-69, why would pro-new-terrain legislators be advocating for an increase in the gas tax to pay for it? Evansville State Representative David Crooks was attributed as saying "...lawmakers may need to consider raising the gas tax to get I-69 going on a strong note." (Evansville Courier & Press; April 26, 2004)


The I-69 Truth Squad -- Revealing the Truth and Unraveling the Distortions in the Debate Over the New-Terrain I-69 Boondoggle

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