Saturday, February 09, 2013

Indiana Could Lose Federal Highway Funding Because Daniels Administration Didn't Play By The Rules On I-69 Land Deals

Eight years of corner-cutting and self-dealing by officials within the Daniels administration could haunt the state of Indiana for many years to come. The latest blow could be the loss of federal transportation funding because officials at INDOT grossly overpaid some landowners for property purchased for the construction of I-69. The Indianapolis Star reports a federal inquiry is now under way in the wake of its reporting on questionable land deals for the project to determine whether the state will be sanctioned.
Federal officials are reviewing the prices Indiana paid as it acquired land for the I-69 extension and other highway projects across the state.
The probe comes in the wake of an Indianapolis Star investigation into questionable land purchases on the I-69 project in Southern Indiana.
The Federal Highway Administration review will focus on "right-of-way practices with regard to administrative settlements," the same practices questioned in the Star investigation.
Among other problems revealed by The Star, the state offered $7 million for 32 properties its appraisers valued at $3.34 million. In some instances, the settlement documents offered little or no justification for the inflated payments.
The probe at Indiana Department of Transportation's Indianapolis office wrapped up last week. "We are still analyzing the findings and have no report yet," the Federal Highway Administration said in a statement.
INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield and the agency's real estate director Scott Adams didn't respond Friday to messages. The office of Gov. Mike Pence also did not respond to an email sent Friday afternoon . . .
Will Wingfield turned down an opportunity to speak to a reporter? That doesn't sound encouraging. According to the Star, Indiana received $626 million in federal funding for the I-69 project alone. Federal highway officials already cut Indiana's highway funding by $40 million because it failed to comply with federal mandates to combat drunk driving.


Cato said...

Daniels' "progress" on I-69 was incompetent and disappointing. In eight years, he could have had the thing built from downtown Indy to Evansville.

Instead, he dragged his feet, paid off his friends with the road budget and structured the road with the end game of making it a toll road and selling it off, continuing his ponzi scheme road funding.

Indiana's lack of a direct Interstate from Indy to Evansville shows that the state is not serious about business or its infrastructure.

rohshack147 said...

You know it would have been more helpful if the Star had reported on Daniels corruption before he left office! Not after!

Gary R. Welsh said...

Who said the Star was pointing fingers at Daniels? The stories are always focus blamed on someone beneath him.