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Re: Stopping the Illiana Expressway

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  • Greg Buck
    Joan, Regarding stopping the Illiana Expressway, you might start by finding allies and people who can direct you to allies. I sent this message to others who
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 23, 2013

      Regarding stopping the Illiana Expressway, you might start by finding allies and people who can direct you to allies.

      I sent this message to others who might be able to help.

      Be sure to contact the fine people at Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads; perhaps a division or affiliate of CARR could be developed to challenge the Illiana Expressway.
      Greg Buck
      ecothink@... (gets more attention than ecothinker@...)
      Individuals & Organizations:
      Please endorse "Position on Economic Growth"

      On Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 7:16 PM, Joan Crist <jcrist@...> wrote:

      Thanks, Greg.  Somehow we have to defeat the "Illiana Expressway" up here in Northwest Indiana.

      From: ipjn@yahoogroups.com [ipjn@yahoogroups.com] on behalf of Greg Buck [ecothinker@...]
      Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 10:39 PM
      Subject: [ipjn] Fwd: I-69 coming undone in Tennessee [2 Attachments]

      [Attachment(s) from Greg Buck included below]

      What do you say, Governor Pence?

      Greg Buck
      ecothink@... (gets more attention than ecothinker@...)

      Campaign for Sustainable Economics

      Individuals & Organizations:
      Please endorse "Position on Economic Growth"

      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: Thomas & Sandra Tokarski <carr@...>
      Date: Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 8:07 PM
      Subject: I-69 coming undone in Tennessee
      To: Susan Sammis <sammis@...>

      Dear Friends and Supporters

      The prospects for a completed I-69 are falling apart not only in Indiana but also in Tennessee and possibly in other states. 

      As this article shows, Tennessee is done with I-69. Neither Kentucky nor Indiana have money to build the new bridge over the Ohio River, and Indiana has run out of money to complete the highway to Indianapolis. It is important to remember that many of the presumed economic benefit of I-69  are based on a completed Canada to Mexico route and, in Indiana, on a completed Evansville to Indy route. Neither route is likely to be completed any time in the near future, if ever. 

      For years CARR has stated that Indiana does not have the money to complete I-69. But state and federal officials insisted that we were wrong. Well, what do they say now--don't worry we will come up with something; maybe it can be a toll road. 

      Given this reality, it would be a travesty and an unforgivable shame to clear-cut, blast and bulldoze Section 4 through environmentally sensitive Greene and Monroe Counties when I-69 will never deliver the benefits that have been touted by its supporters. I-69 will never pay for itself. In addition, Indiana is frequently rated among the worst states for various aspects of environmental quality. In the long run building, I-69 will be very harmful to the economy of Indiana as well as to our quality of life. I-69 is fast becoming a monumental boondoggle.

      Our state has many more transportation needs and far less destructive ways to spend billions of our tax dollars than continuing to throw scarce money at I-69.  A recent report by our colleagues at the Hoosier Environmental Council (see attached pdf) points out that this year Indiana wants to spend 40% of its discretionary funding, $366 million,  just on Section 4 of I-69. The total cost of Section 4 is likely to be well over $600 million.This cannot be justified when Indiana is not able to maintain the roads and bridges we already have. 

      Governor Pence wants to take $347 million from the state's pension fund for transportation and other infrastructure projects. We believe that I-69 is sucking a huge hole in INDOT's budget and is taking funding from other projects across the state. Maybe we can finally agree on one thing--I-69 is not about progress. 

      When politicians in Tennessee say: "The state wants to build places people want to go to and not just through at high speeds. (emphasis added) they are showing more common sense than Indiana politicians who say: let's continue spending billions of dollars and trash the environment by building I-69 even though we can't maintain the roads we have and don't have the money  to finish this one. People hearing this are beginning to look at Indiana and shake their heads in disbelief.  

      Thank you for your enduring support.

      Best regards,

      Thomas & Sandra Tokarski

      Citing Lack of Funds, Tennessee Calls Off $1.5 Billion Highway Project

      Posted: 15 Jan 2013 10:33 AM PST

      A rendering of I-69 through Tennessee. State officials have since halted construction due to lack of funds. Image: Tennessee DOT

      Last week Tennessee DOT commissioner John Schroer took to the pages of the Memphis Commercial Appeal to explain his decision to halt construction of his state’s portion of I-69. The reason, he explained, is that the state can’t afford the 65-mile, $1.5 billion highway project, between Memphis and Dyersburg. (emphasis added)

      “The $1.5 billion cost estimate represents more than 100 percent of Tennessee’s annual federal construction funding,” Schroer said. “To spend that on one project — regardless of its location — would not only be a disservice to all Tennesseans, but it would also be downright irresponsible and potentially dangerous. It would leave no money to repair and replace old bridges or implement safety improvements designed to save lives.”

      In particular Schroer mentioned the unavailability of federal earmarks as a factor in the decision.

      TDOT undertook an examination of its project pipeline last year with Smart Growth America and discovered that it had nine times more projects in its project list than available funding would cover. Determined to change the way it did business, Tennessee has been turning away from bypasses and road widening to concentrate more on integrating land use and transportation. The state wants to build places people want to go to and not just through at high speeds. (emphasis added)

      I-69 — also known as the NAFTA Superhighway — had received special designation from FHWA in 2007 as a “corridor of the future,” a distinction that was supposed to come with streamlined approval and federal funding. The mega highway was to connect Michigan and Canada to Texas and Mexico. The road has been touted as an economic development boon for the states it bisected.

      Tennessee had spent close to two decades on planning, land acquisition and design work for I-69. The state had already spent $200 million, $150 million of which came from the federal government.

      But Schroer expressed doubt other states would be able to complete their portions, given the current funding environment.

      MississippiArkansasKentuckyIndiana and Texas are all facing tremendously expensive I-69 projects, including construction of bridges over the Mississippi and Ohio rivers,” he wrote. (emphasis added)

      Schroer said he would be happy to take up I-69 again “when long-term funding is identified.”


      Thomas & Sandra Tokarski
      PO Box 54
      Stanford, IN 47463

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