Hoosier Environmental Council
INDIANAPOLIS - The Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) today released "The Alarming Rise of Indiana Transportation Funding Dedicated to I-69," a policy paper detailing the fiscal shortfalls of the controversial construction project. HEC has been a 20-year critic of the I-69 project due to the damaging environmental impacts; however, this paper shines a light on the disproportionate percentage of available funding dedicated to its construction and what that means for other road and bridge funding needs throughout Indiana.
The new terrain I-69 highway will eat up one-fifth of available highway construction and maintenance funding from 2012 to 2014. In 2013 alone, the highway will consume nearly 30 percent of Indiana’s highway funds. The disproportionate percentage means many projects throughout the rest of Indiana will be stuck in “shovel ready” mode or never even leave the drawing board.
"Dedicating 20 percent of the available traditional funding to one project will imperil the state’s ability to fulfill its responsibility to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions to other areas of Indiana." - Tim Maloney, HEC
“Dedicating 20 percent of the available traditional funding to one project will imperil the state’s ability to fulfill its responsibility to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions to other areas of Indiana,” said Tim Maloney, HEC senior policy director.
INDOT plans to complete the first three sections of I-69, from Evansville to Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, due to a one-time cash outlay from the lease of the Indiana toll road. Those funds will be exhausted before construction can begin on Section 4 of the project, from Crane to Bloomington.
INDOT has not identified any other specific “innovative” financing sources to pay for I-69, according to the department’s 2030 Long Range Transportation Plan and Draft 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan. Coupled with the steady decline in annual Indiana gas tax revenue – now 11 percent lower than in 2005 – future funding for I-69 can only be assured if road and bridge repairs elsewhere in the state are neglected.
Maloney further points out that a cost-effective and environmentally preferred alternative exists. “I-69 is not a ‘done deal’ despite the construction that has already taken place. An alternative route along U.S. 41/I-70 is already halfway built.”
The alternative route has been deemed environmentally preferred by the U.S. Department of Interior (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
To learn more about the alternative route, visit AlternativeI69.org.
To download a copy of "The Alarming Rise of Indiana Transportation Funding Dedicated to I-69" transportation policy paper, visit HECweb.org. Independent economist William Styring reviewed the policy paper. Styring served as a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Indianapolis and as advisor to former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith.