Interstate 69

February 7, 2004

I would like to commend state legislators Pierce, Skillman, Koch, and Bray for reiterating the fact that there is no way to fund an Interstate 69 through southwest Indiana. At the recent WTIU Third House forum, all legislators present affirmed that Indiana cannot afford I-69's construction cost, that no tax hikes will be approved, and that legislators elsewhere in Indiana will not give up funding for highway projects in their regions in order to fund I-69.

January 24, 2004

The chorus of Indiana legislators telling the truth about I-69 grew more audible last week when four South-Central Indiana lawmakers effectively declared new-terrain I-69 dead before it even arrives at the Statehouse.

"I don't think we need to get into the deep, philosophical question of whether or not I-69 is a good thing or a bad thing because I don't think you can get past the funding problems," State Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, said on WTIU television's Third House program last Sunday.

January 11, 2004

An economic analysis of I-69's affordability by State Sen. Lawrence Borst promises to play a significant role in new-terrain opponents' efforts to raise the multi-billion-dollar boondoggle as an issue in this year's gubernatorial election.

The Republican chairman of the powerful State Senate Finance Committee said in a published statement last October that Indiana's next governor will have only two options to fund I-69 construction: delay $3 billion worth of major highway expansion projects around Indiana for the next 14 years, or raise the state gasoline tax by 5 cents a gallon and put all the new money into I-69.

November 29, 2003

There must be something in the water. Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels has decidedly split from the rest of his party and, to paraphrase the Democratic front-runner in the presidential contest, appears to be doggedly manning what remains of the conservative wing of the Republican party.

Well, at least the fiscally conservative wing. During his tenure in the Bush administration, Daniels had to preside over a federal budget exploding under an administration that sought to greatly increase the size, scope, and cost of the federal government, while simultaneously reducing its tax base. Rumor has it that the administration's fiscal irresponsibly finally got to Daniels, who always campaigned on a platform of slashing, not ballooning, government costs. The rest is, as they say, history. Daniels found the opportunity to exit Washington and come home to run for Governor.

November 29, 2003

Mitch Daniels' announcement last week that he wants to creatively pick taxpayers' pockets to build new-terrain I-69 as fast as he can means next year's gubernatorial race now features no voice for fiscal or environmental responsibility. As one seasoned new-terrain opponent observed: "The hogs are lining up at the trough."

And the language that Boy George's man Mitch used in his announcement suggests that those who love Southern Indiana's forests and farms and peace and tranquility had better gird for a full-fledged assault on their environment, their communities, and their wallets.

September 7, 2003

Proponents of the billion-dollar taxpayer fleecing known as new-terrain I-69 have been damned near reduced to blubbering in recent days as politicians from both major parties have publicly begun acknowledging the irrefutable: Indiana taxpayers cannot afford I-69.

During a recent visit with 35 Republicans in Terre Haute, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels reduced the $810 million giveaway of taxpayer money to vested interests to its essence, as reported in the Terre Haute Tribune-Star on Aug. 29:

August 24, 2003

It's probably impudent beyond imagination but CIVITAS has to disagree with our gracious publisher and host over last week's piece entitled "It's about NAFTA, not NIMBY." In that piece, Bloomington Alternative editor and publisher Steven Higgs wrote an open letter to National Public Radio's Steven Inskeep regarding the latter's coverage of the national I-69 imbroglio.

In particular, Higgs sought to correct the perception that Inskeep's coverage might have left in the public's mind, namely of an over-simplified battle between the road builders and a small group of dedicated landowners fighting to keep their homes.

August 24, 2003

Call it another illustration of Indiana Democrats' moral bankruptcy on the issue of I-69. Call it yet another instance of their shameless hypocrisy. Call it the O'Bannon-Simpson political death wish. Whatever the descriptor, "it" has been on full public display these past few weeks in the state's capital city.

At last Wednesday's meeting of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC), Democrats showed that they have become so smarmy on the subject of I-69 that they won't even take public responsibility for their positions. The commission voted 6-3, in secret, to approve running I-69 through the city's Southwest side. Only one Democrat voted against the plan.

August 17, 2003

An open letter to NPR's Steve Inskeep

Dear Mr. Inskeep:

As a journalist who frequently awakens to the sound of your voice, I was thrilled when The Bloomington Alternative heard last week that you were doing a piece on Southwest Indiana's struggle against Interstate 69. I appreciate your attention to this subject. It is a political and environmental outrage worthy of NPR's and the nation's attention.

But I must confess that I was somewhat disappointed by the segment. It wasn't that Sandra Tokarski didn't make the case against the highway as eloquently as possible in the time allotted. She did, per usual. Neither was it that you allowed Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Brian Nicol's brazen duplicity to pass unchallenged. Indiana citizens have come to expect that from mainstream, he-said she-said media coverage of I-69.

August 3, 2003

News Release

In 2004 Indiana will choose a new Governor. The Governor is virtually without checks and balances regarding transportation issues. The Governor is, shall we say, in the drivers seat:

  • The Governor hires the Department of Transportation (INDOT) Commissioner.
  • INDOT's state and federal funds come directly from gasoline pumps in Indiana, not the legislature.
  • The Federal Government has given state Governors the power to choose the way that each state's federal and state transportation funds will be spent.

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