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Daniels: “Toll Company Overpays”

Daniels says, “The number of miles of congested highway in Indiana has dropped by a third in the last five years and is going down further.”

Everything in Indiana is aimed at creating jobs and improving the economy. That’s according to Governor Mitch Daniels who is on a tour celebrating a 5-year anniversary of the Major Moves Project.

Without the $3.8 billion Indiana received from leasing its toll road, Daniels says the state wouldn’t have been able to complete the hundreds of road projects it has crossed off its list.

He says Major Moves has funded the construction and preservation of more than 200 road and bridge projects statewide

Daniels says, “The number of miles of congested highway in Indiana has dropped by a third in the last five years and is going down further.”

Additionally, Daniels says the toll road is in better shape because the investment group, Cintra-Macquarie, has pumped millions into improvements.

Daniels acknowledged that Cintra-Macquarie is running into hard times and even said the company overpaid for the lease.

“We got all our money so they may have money trouble but we don’t. We have, instead, billions of dollars in roads and bridges,” Daniels said.

Daniels says if Cintra-Macquarie does default it wouldn’t affect service on the road. The state could terminate the agreement, keep the $3.8 billion and choose a new operator.

Daniels says more than half of the Major Moves money has been spent. He expects the last dollars to be spent by 2015.

“Not a penny of this had anything to do with balancing Indiana’s budget or building up reserves,” he said. “Nothing was spent on today, it’s all being reinvested.”

Daniels says more than 200 road and bridge projects have been completed because of funding from the Major Moves project.

Daniels says in 2005 (before Major Moves) INDOT didn’t have a priority list; they did projects as they came in and money became available.

“We have always had a priority system,” he said. “We put jobs and economic value into the mix not just safety and congestion which are important but also which roads would likely lead to more jobs.”

Sara Wittmeyer

Sara Wittmeyer is the News Bureau Chief for WFIU and WTIU. Sara has more than a decade of experience as a news reporter and previously served with KBIA at the University of Missouri, WNKU at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, KY, and at WCPO News in Cincinnati.

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