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Daniels Pushes For I-69 Support In Bloomington

Daniels says Bloomington needs to include I-69 in its transportation plans or it could lose funding.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is calling for people in Bloomington to open their hearts and minds to I-69, which he says is “the right thing for Bloomington.”

The Bloomington Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization or MPO is meeting again this week to consider I-69. The committee has three options –  it can include I-69 in its Transportation Improvement Plan or TIP, not include it, or delay the vote until 2012.

If a new TIP is not approved or the vote is delayed, Bloomington could lose federal funding. The MPO’s I-69 subcommittee chairman, Kent McDaniel, says his group needs to compromise.

“If the TIP is not accepted by INDOT then we will definitely lose funding for Bloomington transit,” he says. “And, it won’t happen for a while. We’ll continue to get federal funding until June of 2013.  But, after than it all dries up.”

The MPO removed I-69 from its plan because of local opposition. Daniels says I-69 needs to return to the plan and Bloomington needs to think of its neighbors.

“I just hope people will open their minds, open their hearts a little bit and not take what I believe is a somewhat narrow or even selfish point of view,” he says.

McDaniel says INDOT rejected the MPO’s latest plan because it still did not include I-69.

According to the Federal Highway Administration and INDOT, the subcommittee will not be able to block I-69. Members of the MPO are set to meet again November 4.

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