According to a state funded "Needs Assessment for Local Roads and Streets" from the Indiana LTAP Center at Purdue, 86% of the county roads in Indiana are rated in "critical" need of repair, 30% of our bridges and culverts are rated structurally or functionally "deficient", and 55% of our county bridges have some component with an estimated life of less than 5 years.
Indiana already has the 4th highest interstate density in the country. It is clear that the benefits of simply concentrating our limited resources on fixing the roads we have far outweighs any supposed benefits of an I-69 -- whether they be economic development, safety, cost savings of decreased travel time, or preservation of environmentally sensitive areas and community character -- and not just in a limited highway corridor, but all across the state.
I would like to read a paragraph from the State's Environmental Impact Statement for I-69 through southern Indiana. The paragraph says "INDOT took extraordinary steps to involve the public in each phase of the study... This input played a significant role in decision-making." In fact, of the unprecedented 22,000 comments received by INDOT on I-69, 21,000 (or 94%) were opposed to the highway, especially the proposed new-terrain route. What is "significant" is that public input was so soundly ignored.
Local elected officials must work together to lobby against the new terrain proposal. Monroe County and the City of Bloomington must present a unified front opposing the construction of I-69.
Elected officials must be the first to call out the State Government's fraudulent claims of economic development benefits for I-69. As representatives of Bloomington and Monroe County, we must be the leaders in confronting the Daniels Administration's illegal procedural moves and falsified documents.
We must work with, rather than against, local activists to stop the destruction of our environmentally sensitive areas and vital watersheds from this monstrous give away of over $4 Billion dollars of OUR money.
And yes, it surely is a give-away. When asked to justify I-69, the Daniels Administration will say it is the important NAFTA highway, linking Mexico to Canada. When you tell them that there is already an existing interstate system running through Indianapolis that runs exactly parallel to the proposed I-69 and is a full 80 miles shorter