Gov. Mitch Daniels said today he will seek legislative permission for a 75-mile toll road around Marion County which would allow the new I-69 extension to be toll-free.
Daniels dubbed the road "the Indiana Commerce Connector."
Daniels said the highway would begin on I-69 "somewhere in the vicinity of Pendleton, crossing I-70 somewhere in the vicinity of Greenfield; I-74 somewhere in the vicinity of Shelbyville; 65 somewhere near Franklin, the new 69 somewhere near Martinsville and continuing on up to the vicinity of the Indianapolis airport."
Daniels the highway "would create six job magnets, six spectacular economic development sites," as well as ease congestion on I-465, which loops around Marion County. And, he said, there will be no tolls on I-69 from Evansville to Indianapolis.
Could someone try to convince me that this wasn't a plan drawn up by a group of greedy road contractors sitting around the same table with a group of lawyers from Ice Miller? Am I being too cynical here? Why the hell are we spending all that money adding new lanes and commuter routes along I-465 if we're going to build an entirely new road 20 miles away to fuel even further urban sprawl? And there's still no plan for mass transit in America's largest city without a public transit system. I don't want to encourage Pat Bauer to be an obstructionist, but if there were ever anything he should be obstructing, it's this boondoggle. Daniels' lure is to trade off a toll road in the metro area for a toll-free road between Indianapolis and Evansville. The negative environmental impact, however, cannot be overstated.