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Fw: CARR calls for SEIS on I-69 Section 4

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  • Greg Buck
    I am very proud of the CARR s determination. Please see the forwarded message of this organization that deserves any support you can give. Also, today there is
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2012
    I am very proud of the CARR's determination. Please see the forwarded message of this organization that deserves any support you can give.
     
    Also, today there is an I-69 meeting in Bloomington that I learned about at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Community-Against-I-69/105985319561799?fref=ts at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington from 7 pm to 9 pm.
     
    Sign up with these resources to keep up on I-69:
    To open forwarded messages, click the below rectangle containing three dots.
     
    Cheers,
     
     
    Greg Buck
    ecothink@... (gets more attention than ecothinker@...)

    Campaign for Sustainable Economics
    www.sustainableeconomics.org 
     
    Individuals & Organizations:
    Please endorse "Position on Economic Growth"



    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Thomas & Sandra Tokarski <carr@...>
    Date: Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 8:02 AM
    Subject: CARR calls for SEIS on I-69 Section 4
    To: Susan Sammis <sammis@...>


    PLEASE FORWARD AND POST WIDELY!  THANKS!

    Dear Friends and Supporters,

    There is a lot going on with the I-69 struggle:

    Governor Daniels and influential  elected state officials have confirmed that there is no identified funding to complete I-69 from Bloomington to Indy. CARR has said for years that there would be no funding  to complete the project, but few listened to us. A recent article in the Indianapolis Star and a follow-up editorial confirmed the lack of funds to complete the project.  (See excerpts at the end of this email.)

    CARR  has officially requested that state and federal agencies prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for Section 4, from US-231 in Greene County  to SR-37 south of Bloomington.  Work on Section 4 should cease until these emergent problems are addressed. Our request for an SEIS details unresolved problems in Section 4. Work on Section 4 is just getting started so there is a chance to stop work on this section. (Our letter to Secretary of Transportation Ray La Hood is attached as a pdf)

    The state continues to rush the completion of Sections 1-3. The result is shoddy, substandard work that will result in numerous problems and unsafe driving conditions in the future. Some bridge work has already had to be torn out and redone.

    In August of this year we discovered contractors working on an I-69 site without proper permits. We filed a formal complaint with the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources and the Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management over illegal stream crossings and lack of erosion control in a karst area of Monroe County. Only after a follow-up complaint was the work stopped and erosion control put in place. We are still not sure why INDOT contractors were bulldozing paths throughout this area before this work was permitted.

    In October we filed a complaint with several county officials over heavy trucks working on I-69. These trucks were using narrow, winding, hilly W. Evans Rd. to access a site where homes were being torn down. County officials had specifically requested that I-69 construction traffic was not to use this road. The county has also requested that I-69 trucks are not to use the following roads in Monroe County: Koontz, Crum, Rock East and Mt. Zion. If you see trucks working on I-69 using these roads let us know. 

    Due to the presence of the endangered Indiana Bat all along Section 4, no tree cutting is permitted until November 16th. If you see or hear of any tree removal in or near the proposed right-of-way prior to this date please let us know and we will follow up with the regulatory agencies. 

    Condemnation proceedings are ongoing against a number of landowners in Section 4. Some landowners are filing legal objections to the taking. We maintain that citizens have a right to object to their condemnation based on a flawed purpose and need for the project.  We think that if a project is in violation of federal law (as we believe I-69 is) then the state should not be able to condemn land for that project. 

    INDOT continues to cut corners and is not  following proper procedures in condemnation procedures and property acquisitions. CARR members who own a farm in Greene County, were not given proper legal notice of the state's attempt to relocate and/or tear down buildings on their property. This is a violation of the federal Uniform Act. The appeal of their condemnation case was also rejected by a Greene County judge. These landowners intend to file  an appeal of their case to the Indiana Supreme Court. Other landowners are filing appeals in their objections to taking cases.

    As with everything else with this project, INDOT and FHWA are in a big hurry and are making mistakes. We are simply insisting that they follow the rules and regulations like everyone else is required to do. INDOT seems to think they are above the law and some courts have supported the state's actions.

    With our colleagues at the Hoosier Environmental Council, we are appealing the decision made by federal Judge McKinney in our  challenge to the US Army Corps of Engineers Clean Water Permit in Section 3.  The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) is our legal counsel in this case. 

    We are still preparing our federal lawsuit and hope to have more information on that soon. We have to review a tremendous number of documents for this case but we have found some very disturbing information.

    The draft EIS for Section 5 was released on October 30th. A public hearing for Section 5 will be held on December 6th at the Monroe County Fairgrounds. The doors will open at 5:30 and a formal presentation will be at 6:30, followed by public comments. Section 5 runs along SR-37 from South of Bloomington to SR-39 south of  Martinsville. As noted above, the state has not identified a funding source for this segment. To use federal dollars for this project the state must show the project is "fiscally constrained", i,e., they must show that they have the money to complete the project. We will have more information for you on this after we have reviewed the document. 

    Thank you for your steadfast support.

    Best regards,

    Thomas & Sandra

    Excerpts From Indy Star Article, 6 Oct. 2012:

    "But no money has been allocated to complete the most expensive, most politically sensitive and busiest stretch: Bloomington to Indianapolis. And existing revenue sources are tapped out.
    The $3.8 billion in Major Moves funds from the Indiana Toll Road lease is all spent or allocated. Gas tax collections are falling. A tax hike is politically difficult. Federal earmarks have dried up.
    And there's little money to shift from other projects.
    "There is no money to finish anything of consequence, much beyond routine maintenance and a few minor projects," said Rep. Jeff Espich, chairman of the House's tax-writing and finance committee."

    "Daniels, who notes he has presided over eight years of unparalleled highway spending, acknowledged in an exclusive interview with The Indianapolis Star that times are now tough, and he'd be OK if the incoming governor decides to put I-69 on hold."

    "... it will almost certainly open up the project to a whole new source of criticisms about whether the 94-mile stretch Daniels punched through prime farmland and Indiana forests was even worth its $1.5 billion price tag. Some critics are already describing the incomplete freeway as less than fiscally sound.
    "There's the argument you shouldn't go down the path of building a road," said state Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, "until you have funds to complete it."

    "Even Libertarian candidate Rupert Boneham, who insists eminent domain shouldn't be used to acquire land for the project, also says he supports finishing I-69.
    None of them, however, has identified a source of funding for it."

    "Espich said most of the Department of Transportation's money will be spent on salaries and maintenance, leaving a couple hundred million for projects. "So we can limp along as we did prior to Major Moves," Espich said, "but that's all you can do.""

    "The federal highway bill passed this year kept Indiana's revenues steady, but highway policy experts say that pot of money continues to shrink for the same reason the state's gas-tax revenues have dropped -- drivers are filling up less and driving more fuel-efficient cars in the weakened economy.
    Federal earmarks also have largely been eliminated because of public backlash over pork-barrel spending on projects in individual lawmakers' districts.
    Daniels said Indiana is returning to an era when "needs outrun the gas tax."

    "The state hasn't yet estimated what it would need to acquire for the most expensive stretch, from Martinsville to Indianapolis.
    State Sen. Brent Waltz and state Rep. Dave Frizzell, the Republicans who represent Greenwood and Indianapolis' Perry Township, say many of their constituents don't want the highway expansion.
    Waltz said local governments would also be affected. Land acquisition would take property off tax rolls, leaving a hole in already beleaguered local budgets that fund schools, libraries, fire departments and other local government services.
    Waltz said that in Perry Township alone, initial estimates showed the state seizing as much as $300 million in assessed property that couldn't be taxed."

    "Josh Desmond, the head of the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization, said the added traffic from I-69 could overburden intersections on Ind. 37 that are already among the county's worst in terms of safety.
    "This is probably one of our biggest concerns," he said."

    "State officials say the new freeway will take a minimum of 30 minutes off the Evansville-to-Indianapolis trip, but Maloney's group contends they've found that, at most, it will save just 13 minutes.

    With stoplights and traffic slowdowns already common along Ind. 37, Maloney says, it's "a fair prediction" that even less time will be cut off the trip, should I-69 stop in Bloomington."

    To read the entire Indy Star article go to: http://www.indystar.com/article/20121006/NEWS05/210060346/Money-runs-low-completion-69-extension-from-Evansville-Indy





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    Thomas & Sandra Tokarski
    CARR
    PO Box 54
    Stanford, IN 47463
    800-515-6936







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