Mitch's Myths - the road to hell is paved with PR
Indy Bypass Toll Road - the latest proposal without a need
Illiana Toll Road - will northern Indiana have any free roads left?
New Terrain I-69 - throwing a billion dollars out the window
Indiana Toll Road - raw deal with lessons for other toll road proposals
"The Highwaymen" -- by Daniel Schulman & James Ridgeway for Mother Jones -- An expose' about the sale of the IN Toll Road by Mitch Daniels -- this is a MUST READ !!
Indy Bypass Toll Road
Due to the revolt up and down the proposed new terrain I-69 corridor, Mitch Daniels has decided he can no longer afford to toll and privatize that highway. But, because the new terrain I-69 route costs a cool $1 billion more than the Common Sense Route (I-70 / US 41) by INDOT's own estimates, he has to supplement the Fleecing of America price tag somehow. So he is proposing to build, toll and privatize a brand new highway that INDOT's own 2005 study concluded would not be worth building.
Mitch Daniels proposes building a part of an outer loop in the suburban counties surrounding Marion County. Beginning at I-69 near Anderson and Pendleton (Madison County), the corridor to be 'studied' would generally go south along or parallel to SR 9, passing through or by Greenfield (Hancock County) and Shelbyville (Shelby County). It would then go west generally along or parallel to SR 44, passing through or by Franklin (Johnson County) and Martinsville (Morgan County). It would then go north generally along or parallel to SR 39, perhaps circling, perhaps cutting through Martinsville and passing through or by Monrovia (Morgan County), terminating at I-70.
INDOT estimates this 75 mile route would cost between $1 and $1.5 billion to build. Daniels is proposing that the state enter into a public-private partnership whereby the highest bidder would build, maintain and operate the toll road for some unstated period of time. Oh yes, and give the State of Indiana enough money to cover the cost of building new terrain (and now toll-free) I-69. Well, after adding in $700 million from the sale of the Indiana Toll Road last year.
Just as he did with new terrain I-69, Daniels indicates the Indy ByPass Toll Road is either a 'toll road or no road'. [note: INDOT's 2003 estimated cost for 142-mile new terrain I-69 was $1.8 billion or $12.6 million/mile. This new 75-mile Indy ByPass Toll Road proposal comes in at between $1 and $1.5 billion or between $13.3 and $20.0 million per mile. Is this proposal for new terrain? Has the real price tag for new terrain I-69 doubled? Is Mitch Daniels working with his fuzzy math again?]
This is part of the Indy Outer Loop route studied and rejected in recent years. The study is know as the:
Central Indiana Suburban Transportation and Mobility Study (CISTMS) click map to enlarge
click here for the CISTMS Study
The major conclusion of this study was that a freeway bypass around Marion County was not needed, even using traffic modeling through the year 2040. The study, rather, recommended improvements in existing road systems.
This study concluded that, if a freeway were built to totally encircle Marion County, it would reduce traffic volume on the very NE corner of I-465 between I-69 and I-70 as well as the west and northern legs of I-465. It would also reduce traffic on I-69 between the new freeway and I-465 as well as traffic on SR 9. But, the freeway beltway would also increase traffic on I-70 between this new beltway and I-465.
The study further concluded: "These travel simulations indicated that most I-69 traffic was either destined for the Indianapolis region or would use I-465 to travel through the study area. The need for a new freeway bypass of Indianapolis to serve I-69 traffic was not indicated."
This study looked at the traffic impacts of a freeway completely encircling Marion County. Toll roads are famed for carrying less traffic than freeways simply because travelers want to avoid paying the toll. So, the impacts of a toll road would be even smaller. And, since Daniels' proposal omits the north and west parts of the study area where some traffic reduction was noted, the Indy ByPass Toll Road's impact on traffic would be minimized even further.
Mitch Daniels claims that truck traffic in particular, would prefer to take a ByPass Toll route around Marion County, and inferring trucks would be the major payors of the tolls. INDOT conducted another study in 1997 in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration to forecast truck and rail traffic that moves various commodities through the state. That shows clearly that the existing I-69 moves the least amount of truck traffic and that was predicted to still be the case in 2015. If a truck bypass were truly the goal, then I-65, which carries the most truck traffic through central Indiana, most certainly must be included in any loop.
Between these two studies, one must conclude that: since a full freeway loop will not alter traffic or land use patterns significantly and since the lion's share of truck transportation is from NW to SE, that a partial Indy ByPass Toll Road that does not connect both sections of I-65, will neither reduce traffic volumes nor the travel patterns of trans-state truck traffic to justify the project.
Eminent Domain and Privatization
Governor Daniels seeks Legislation that will allow him to offer his proposed Indy ByPass Toll Road to a private partner who would build, maintain, and operate the Toll Road for an as yet unspecified number of years. In addition they would give the state an as yet unspecified upfront lump sum of money. Daniels proposes that money be pooled with $700 million from the sale of the Indiana Toll Road in 2006 and be used to build New Terrain I-69.
A key topic not yet broached by the Governor is who exactly will pay for the right-of-way the state would have to acquire through its powers of Eminent Domain (pronounced: lănd´ grăb).
Senator Tom Wyss (R-Fort Wayne) introduced a bill (SB 1) to switch the Governor's authorization to toll and privatize New Terrain I-69 onto his proposed Indy ByPass Toll Road and the Illiana Toll Road. This bill passed out of the Senate and now awaits hearing in the Transportation Committee of the House. Field Hearings in three counties brought out thousands of citizens opposed to the Toll Road.
On March 24, 2007, Governor Daniels pulled his support for the Indy ByPass Toll Road.
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