The Bloomington Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization is no closer to a decision in I-69. The I-69 subcommittee met today, but didn’t accomplish much because no one from the Indiana Department of Transportation or the Federal Highway Administration attended.
According to MPO President Kent McDaniel, the subcommittee hoped to sit down with INDOT and FHWA to hammer out a deal that would allow the MPO to approve I-69.
“Frankly,” he says, “we didn’t get nearly as much done today as we hoped, because INDOT and the FWHA didn’t show up today.”
INDOT sent a letter to the MPO, expressing displeasure at the public discourse during the last MPO meeting. In that letter, INDOT Commissioner Michael Cline called the way the MPO conducted the meeting, with regard to public comment “shameful”.
Both Cline and Federal Highway Administration Division Administrator Bob Tally sent official letters to McDaniel condemning the way the public comment section of the meeting was handled.
During today’s meeting, Subcommittee Chair Richard Martin expressed that neither Tally nor Cline were likely familiar with the way Monroe County residents express themselves at public meetings.
McDaniel says the MPO needs to sit down with INDOT before the group’s next meeting.
“What we need to do,” he says, “is figure out a way to leverage what little influence we have with INDOT and get them to the table to let us participate in the design on Section Five.”
The MPO is scheduled to vote in February on whether to put I-69 in its transportation improvement plan. However, McDaniel says that meeting might be cancelled, depending on how talks with INDOT go.
According to INDOT spokesperson Cher Elliot, INDOT hopes the MPO will be ready to vote I-69 into its TIP by the February meeting.
McDaniel says he might move the vote on I-69 to the March meeting to give the MPO more time to reach a decision.
Elliot said this afternoon a scheduling conflict prevented a representative from her office from attending today’s meeting.
A link to the letters can be found here.