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No Action May Be Taken At I-69 Meeting Friday

The committee will discuss whether to include I-69 in its 2012-2015 TIP. If the road is not included, millions of federal dollars Bloomington and Monroe County rely on could be lost.

The Bloomington, Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will discuss on Friday afternoon whether to include I-69 in its long range transportation plans.

The I-69 Subcommittee, which was formed by the MPO in September to meet with the Indiana Department of Transportation and officials from the Federal Highway Administration, is presenting its finding to the MPO, which will decide whether to keep I-69 out of its Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) through 2015.

According Subcommittee Chairman Richard Martin, his team is encouraging the MPO to work with INDOT to ensure Monroe County has a voice at the table with regards to the final details of the road. However, he says, Friday’s meeting may not produce a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote.

“There is no requirement that we vote,” he says. “There’s nothing in the timelines in the project that would require us to do so.”

However, INDOT Project Manager Sandra Flum is confident the MPO will vote to restore the highway to its plans.

“I’m still hopeful that the MPO will chose to put construction for Section Four, which is all we’re asking for, into their TIP, so that we can build that mile and three quarters and continue to take their input and take their dialogue when we get to design for area’s they’re concerned about in Section 4,” Flum says.

The state has failed to approve the current 2012-2015 TIP sent to them by the MPO earlier this year. That TIP did not include I-69, and the state says it will nullify any TIP sent to them without provisions for the road.

The MPO’s current TIP, which is valid through the end of 2012, does include I-69.

According to subcommittee members, if a new TIP is not approved by the state, Bloomington and Monroe County will loose several million dollars worth of federal funds. The hardest hit, says MPO Chairman Kent McDaniels, will be Bloomington Transit.

“I’m extremely concerned,” he says. “And it’s not just a possibility. If the TIP is not accepted by INDOT, we will definitely lose funding for Bloomington Transit.”

Bloomington Transit receives several million dollars of its annual budget from the federal government through grants and other support.

The MPO will meet at 1:30 p.m. in Bloomington’s City Hall.

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