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)
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)
Opponents of a new-terrain route for the proposed Interstate 69 issued the first in a series of "Truth Squad" alerts last Thursday. Over the next several weeks the groups will issue similar alerts to the public covering different aspects of the I-69 debate. The groups issuing today's alert include the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC), Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads (CARR) and the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations (McANA).
"The public deserves the truth," said Andy Knott, air and energy policy director for the HEC. "The new 'I-69 Truth Squad' will reveal the truth behind the many myths, distortions and false statements made by new-terrain I-69 lobbyists."
Chamber President Steve Howard and the H-T editorial board's reactions to City Councilman Andy Ruff's impolitic slip of the tongue with a student journalist last week calls to mind a phrase from the past, "the pot calling the kettle black."
On April 8, Howard e-mailed his board and executive committee a copy of an Indiana Daily Student article, highlighting a section in which Andy refers to INDOT Commissioner J. Brian Nicol as a "twerp" and a "punk." Calling for a "civil, productive community dialogue" on I-69, Howard offered his minions dictionary definitions of the terms that included "insignificant and contemptible" and "prostitute." Precisely on cue, two days later, the H-T editors called Andy's word choice "grade school caliber name-calling."
With the release of the Record of Decision for I-69, efforts to stop it will intensify. Citizens' lives, properties and businesses along the proposed corridor are devalued by the threat of I-69 while scarce transportation dollars go to biased studies to prop up this boondoggle. Governor Kernan's choice of the 3C alternative makes only his political supporters happy.
This corrupt process of contrived studies, misinformation, and politics must not be allowed to succeed. I-69 has little to do with transportation needs, but everything to do with campaign contributions.
My personal opinion of Mr. Nicol is a purely subjective matter. I did not intend for them to appear in the column, but I should have gone to greater lengths to make certain they didn't appear in the IDS, and really shouldn't have shared them with a student journalist at all. But they are still personal comments and nothing more.
Mr. Howard's claims that as the Chamber leader he has been "truthful," that he has been "respectful" of others views, and that he has "carefully" chosen words regarding I-69 are claims that relate to critical issues of the public policy discussion on I-69, and as such are far more important to carefully analyze than my remarks about Mr. Nicol. But Mr. Howard's claims are empty. His actions have often been the opposite of truthful, respectful, and carefully worded.
Two reactions to our soon-to-be ex-governor's announcement last week that the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) had approved his new-terrain I-69 route: politically speaking, he's a drowning man wearing concrete shoes, and big frickin' deal.
One reaction to Mayor Mark Kruzan's position that planning Bloomington's future as an Interstate community is responsible leadership. If so, then we should also plan for the closure of Crane because, as one seasoned observer sees it, the odds that the Department of Defense will close the landlocked Navy base are higher than the odds that the Indiana Department of Transportation will come up with $160 million a year to build I-69 - a helluva lot higher.
According to the results of a new analysis by several scientists released today, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and their consultants, Bernardin-Lochmueller and Associates (BLA), have excluded data on karst features within and near their preferred 3C alignment in Monroe and Greene counties.
Association of Monroe County Taxpayers
There are different kinds of taxpayer's organizations, all with different ideologies. But they all share a common concern: that of ensuring that the public's money is spent in the most beneficial, to the public, way. For years, the Association of Monroe County Taxpayers has followed the I-69 issue and, for years, we've tried to find the public benefit that justifies its enormous social, environmental, and dollar cost. As of today, we're still looking.
The following is the full text of a letter sent by southern Indiana environmental and timber groups to Gov. Joe Kernan opposing construction of Interstate 69. It was sent on Feb. 2 and was signed by representatives from Heartwood, Indiana Forest Alliance, Hoosier Environmental Council, Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen's Association, and Indiana Forest Industry Council.