I-69 Truth Squad Alert


"...there is no federal categorical funding for such projects [as I-69] . . . INDOT could probably qualify much of its existing federal road funding for I-69. . . . That would only draw federal funds away from other projects." (State Senator Lawrence Borst, Chair of Senate Finance Committee; Southside Times, Oct. 30, 2003)

FALSE: INDOT Commissioner Bryan Nicol has implied that Hoosiers are responsible for only 20% of the cost of I-69, and that Uncle Sam will pay for the other 80%. For example, he claimed in December 2003 that INDOT could "'leverage' four times as much federal funding in return under an 80/20 federal/state funding ratio" for I-69 (Bloomington Herald-Times, Dec. 19, 2003).

Explanation: Commissioner Nicol and other new-terrain I-69 supporters are trying to create the impression that Uncle Sam will pay for 80% of INDOT's $2 billion folly at no additional cost to Hoosier taxpayers.

The fact is that Indiana, like all states, receive a fixed amount of federal money each year to spend on its highway projects. This money comes from the 18.6 cents tax that we all pay for each gallon of gasoline. INDOT only gets to decide how to spend the money.

In other words, every dollar spent on I-69 means one less dollar spent on other road projects across the state. That's a lot of money in the case of INDOT's I-69, which at a $2 billion cost dwarfs every other road project in Indiana.

In contrast, the common sense I-70/US 41 alternative costs half as much money and delivers good economic and better health and safety benefits than the new-terrain I‑69, in part because I-70/US 41 frees up much more money to be used on other transportation projects.

The moral of the story: There is no federal pot of gold for I-69.

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