Fw: Press Release: Daniels "cheapens" I-69
- ---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Thomas & Sandra Tokarski <stopnti69@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 10:31 AM
Subject: Press Release: Daniels "cheapens" I-69
To: CARR Email List <carr@...>
Dear Friends and Supporters,
CARR sent out the following press release yesterday.
Don't forget the CARR Annual meeting:
Thursday, October 29, 2009, 6:30 EDT
Monroe County Public Library, Room B1
303 E. Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47408
Thanks again for your continued support!
Thomas and Sandra Tokarski
For Immediate Release: October 27, 2009
Contacts: Thomas Tokarski, Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads (CARR) 812-825-9555
Pat Andrews, Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Assocs. 317-856-3341
Jess Gwinn, Greene County landowner (812) 876-8623
Brian Garvey, Monroe County landowner (812) 360-0721
I-69: A BAD IDEA GETS WORSE.
GOVERNOR DANIELS’ PLAN TO BUILD I-69 ON THE CHEAP SHRINKS ECONOMIC VALUE AND CREATES A SAFETY HAZARD.
Earlier this month Governor Daniels instructed INDOT to cheapen the construction of I-69. To close the ever-widening gap between unrealistically low initial cost estimates and ever increasing current projections, he would build an unsafe highway, impede the flow of traffic for rural communities, diminish the ability of the highway to generate economic activity and burden future taxpayers who will foot the bill to bring the highway up to safe and sustainable standards.
According to Daniels, traffic on the highway would be separated by cables instead of a wide median. Cables are normally used in urban areas in an attempt to balance right of way costs in dollars and disruption to neighborhoods. Wider medians are used elsewhere because they are safer. This is particularly problematic as I-69 is being planned as a NAFTA corridor for large volumes of truck traffic. A recent accident on I-44 near Waynesvillle, Missouri, involved a semi truck that crashed through median guard cables, dragging cables across two lanes of traffic. (Pulaski County Daily News, 29 Sept. 2009) Fortunately, only one person was injured but it is not hard to imagine that it could have been much worse.
Daniels cheap plan would “defer” 2 interchanges in rural areas in Pike and Daviess Counties. They may be too expensive to build now but they are not going to get cheaper. Deferred projects, such as interchanges and access roads likely will never be built as they will be much more expensive to build in later years. Decreased access to the highway will reduce hoped for economic activity. It will also reduce the highway’s usefulness to local residents.
“The credibility of INDOT studies is called into question when a project is justified using one set of assumptions and after it is approved the project is changed and is built using a different set of assumptions.” states Jess Gwinn, Greene County landowner. He continues: “ Governor Daniels’ new standards and the limitations on access points should be thoroughly reviewed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as they are clear deviations from the EIS assumptions upon which decisions were made. “
Earlier, in regards to the dramatically increasing cost of I-69, Governor Daniels said he wanted to “throw out the rulebook to the extent the feds will let you do it.” The Governor seems to be saying that a cheap highway is good enough for Hoosiers: a dangerous highway with limited community access, and, in few years pockmarked with potholes and patched with tar.” states Brian Garvey, a Monroe County landowner. “Who is looking out for the interests of taxpayers and the safety of citizens?”
To cut costs Daniels wants to lay thinner than normal pavement and use asphalt instead of concrete. Laying thinner pavement and using asphalt assures that maintenance costs will be much higher and required maintenance more frequent. Saving money now for political gains means more costs for taxpayers in the future. Governor Daniels’ plan would leave a legacy of self-serving expenditure of tax dollars and shortsightedness that will negatively impact transportation decisions in Indiana for decades.
Rural SW Indiana will suffer significant economic losses due to the taking of thousands of acres of good farm ground and will see even fewer benefits under Daniels plan. The cheap Daniels plan does nothing to reduce the environmental, social and economic damage caused by I-69: 4500 acres of farmland lost, 2200 acres of forest lost, 400 homes taken, 125 businesses taken or relocated. 135 local roads would be closed, possibly more if over/underpasses are eliminated or deferred as planned.
Due to the very high cost of I-69, Governor Daniels said in 2006, that it would be a toll road or no road. That plan was dropped due to overwhelming public and legislative opposition. INDOT admits that it does not have the money to complete I-69. INDOT’s own cost estimate for the entire route is now over $3 billion. Our estimate puts the cost at over $4 billion.
The full benefits of I-69, according to INDOT’s Environmental Impact Studies (EISs), will only come when the project is completed from existing I-69 to Kentucky. In his recent meeting in Evansville, Governor Daniels himself suggested that there will be little use of the highway until it is competed, maybe in 20 years. Realistically, it may never be completed. It is simply bad public policy to start a major project without knowing if it can ever be completed or at what cost to taxpayers.
Based on INDOT’s estimates from the studies for sections 1-3, I-64 to US 231 near Crane, the cost of those 3 sections will be about $18 million/mile. Building the 68 miles for only $700 million, as Daniels suggests, means it would have to be done for only about $10 million/mile. This includes a very expensive raised section, close to a mile long, through the Patoka National Wildlife Refuge. The projected costs cannot be cut by 45% and still have a safe and usable highway for the future.
“It has taken the state over a year to build the first 1.8 miles on the southern end of the route. It defies belief to think the remaining 66 miles from far southern Indiana to US 231 at Crane can be built in only 3 years. To say it can be done at a fraction of earlier cost estimates should raise all kinds of red flags.” states Thomas Tokarski, President CARR.
We believe that upgrading existing roads throughout Indiana is a better use of taxpayer dollars. Indiana is among the states with the greatest backlog of bridge work. A recent report revealed that 4000 highway bridges in Indiana are structurally deficient or obsolete. (Newsandtribune.com, 21 July, 2009.) Structurally deficient is the same rating given the I-35W bridge that collapsed in Minnesota. There are road projects all around the state that are being delayed or cancelled due to lack of funding. Adding major new construction to the system when the state cannot maintain what it has is irresponsible.
We can create more jobs, more quickly, by fixing up the roads we have. A Common Sense Alternative has been offered to the Governor as a means to accomplish his goal of being the Governor who finally built I-69. By Using the I-79/US-41 route, taxpayers across the state will gain by cutting the huge cost of I-69 in half and spending the saved money on priority needs in other communities.
Indiana should also begin to seriously plan and build a transportation system for the future based on rail and public transit. Indiana is way behind many other states in these aspects of transportation.
Thomas & Sandra Tokarski
Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads, Inc.
PO Box 54
Stanford, IN 47463