The last episode of IN Focus aired August 2013; the page below is an archive.
The WFIU/WTIU news team continues its coverage of local and regional issues
in a new weekly program, Indiana Newsdesk, premiering Friday, September 27.
August 26, 2010
Interstate 69 Controversy
Construction Timelines and Funding
A panel of experts discusses the shortened timeline for Interstate 69 in southern Indiana.Watch Video »View Article
The national plan for Interstate 69 is to construct one thoroughfare connecting Mexico to Canada. The project in Indiana has been underway since the 1990s. Families living in the proposed paths of the highway are likely to lose their homes or have their landscapes permanently altered. Kevin Wrigley of Bloomington is one such homeowner. He says his family’s biggest worry is that the highway will not come through their house but instead only clip a corner of the property. If this is the case, then they will not be compensated for their land, even though the highway will be ruining their property’s ambience.
Currently Indiana has two segments of I-69 constructed, one connecting the northeast corner of the state to Indianapolis and another small section in the southwest. There is a 140 mile gap in the middle. After decades of uncertainty about the highway’s completion, Governor Mitch Daniels announced in May that the gap will be closed by 2014, years ahead of schedule. State Representative Matt Pierce worries the shortened timeline is too aggressive. He thinks residents in the Bloomington area will be paying close attention to the environmental impact studies for the route and construction may not move as quickly as planned.
The state says 3.5 billion dollars will be generated by the construction of the highway, but many concerns remain for families, wildlife, and funding.
Mayor Larry Haag of Washington, IN says his town is excited for the construction of the highway. Bloomington City Councilman Andy Ruff thinks the I-69 project will not lead to a good return on investment. So far 700 million dollars has gone to the highway when, he says, education and training are more important investments.
Tags: Andy Ruff, Bloomington, Bruce Jaffee, Crane NSA, Evansville, Governor Mitch Daniels, I-69, I-69 Controversy, I-69 Funding, I-69 Timeline, I69, Indiana, Indiana Department of Transportation, Indianapolis, INDOT, InFocus, Interstate 69, Interstate 69: Under Construction, Kevin Wrigley, Larry Haag, Matt Pierce, Stan Jastrzebski, Washington, WFIU, WTIU
A panel of experts discusses Interstate 69 in Indiana and the possible economic benefits it might bring.Watch Video »View Article
Bruce Jaffee of the IU Kelley School of Business economics department says economic development is one major benefit of Interstate 69 construction. Another is added accessibility to the Crane naval base south of Bloomington. He says trade between the US and the two countries surrounding it will put Indiana in a better competitive situation and draw more businesses to the state.
When asked about Washington, IN’s interactions with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), Mayor Larry Haag says that the information transition has been smooth. He also notes that there is only so much INDOT can provide and compromise on with the cities because of their short timelines.
Bloomington City Councilman Andy Ruff says that section four of the highway (from Crane to Bloomington) is not funded. He adds that the southern part of the state is not as economically depressed as one may think. He also argues against Jaffee’s point about economic development by saying that I-64 hasn’t had that kind of positive effect on the areas it goes through. Ruff also disputes Jaffee’s points about Crane, saying in his own conversations with base closure officials, they said Crane’s isolation is its biggest asset.
A pre-recording clip from an interview with INDOT spokeswoman Cher Goodwin points out that every corner of the state has an interstate connection to Indianapolis except the southwest.
Host Stan Jastrzebski says he’s heard different things in various interviews with people associated with Crane. He then asks Larry Haag if the compensation going to people displaced by the highway has been fair. Haag says people have been calling it equitable. Bruce Jaffee points out that the land could just be taken by imminent domain, but instead INDOT is negotiating with families.
Tags: Andy Ruff, Bruce Jaffee, Cher Goodwin, Crane NSA, Economic Development, Evansville, Governor Mitch Daniels, I-69, I-69 Controversy, I-69 Funding, I-69 Timeline, I69, Indiana, Indiana Department of Transportation, Indianapolis, INDOT, InFocus, Interstate 69, Interstate 69: Under Construction, Larry Haag, NAFTA, Stan Jastrzebski, Washington, WFIU, WTIU
A panel of experts discusses Interstate 69 in Indiana and their predictions for the economic impact of its construction.Watch Video »View Article
The topic of safety is raised and in a clip from an earlier interview, Ted Benckart of Stone Belt Freight says the construction of Interstate 69 would benefit truckers and the people sharing the road with them. A multi-lane highway is much safer than a narrow, two-lane road.
Bloomington City Councilman Andy Ruff disagrees, saying when people are going to have to drive farther distances to get around the highway, leading to more likely accidents. In addition, the highway will bring increased traffic and cars getting off exits will have carryover speeds once they are on regular roads.
Bruce Jaffee of the IU Kelley School of Business Economics Department says he is optimistic for solid returns from the construction of I-69. He also says he thinks it’s a good time for Indiana to be investing in this project.
Washington, IN Mayor Larry Haag says the highway will bring jobs, which is just what Washington and the rest of Indiana needs.
Tags: Andy Ruff, Bruce Jaffee, Crane NSA, Evansville, Governor Mitch Daniels, I-69, I-69 Controversy, I-69 Funding, I-69 Safety, I-69 Timeline, I69, Indiana, Indiana Department of Transportation, Indianapolis, INDOT, InFocus, Interstate 69, Interstate 69: Under Construction, Larry Haag, Stan Jastrzebski, Stone Belt Freight, Ted Benckart, Washington, WFIU, WTIU