Last day of session is deadline for Major Moves

March 14th, 2006

Proponents of the Governor’s plan to lease the Indiana Toll Road often say Northern Indiana residents should support the plan because it could allow for the construction of an upgraded US 31 from South Bend to Indianapolis.

However, there is no plan in place to build a new US 31 – the Governor already canceled the few construction plans that existed, and now there are only vague promises.

How vague? Take this Senator’s suggestion on how to show progress on US 31 if Major Moves passes the Legislature:

“…[T]o show there is a positive side of all this thing. We’ve got to have some groundbreaking somewhere.”

He suggested the state could start on U.S. 31.

“I told them to go up there and dump a truckload of sand and take a bulldozer and shove it this way today and shove it back that way tomorrow,” Meeks said. “Do something, at least, that will be showin’ them that we’re doing some work.”

The final vote on HB 1008 – the authorizing legislation for major Moves must take place by midnight tonight. A draft “compromise” version of a conference committee report that I have read does little to change the bill, and takes out many of the amendments that were originally passed by the House. The main points I noticed were:

- An extra $10 million to each Toll Road county
- The option for LaPorte County to join the Lake/Porter RDA (in exchange for less money)
- Removal of the toll-freeze language (discount for I-PASS users)
- Removal of any north-east or north-central RDA
- I-69 as a toll road from Evansville to Martinsville, but no tolls from Martinsville to Indianapolis
- Possibly the ability for INDOT to give large chunks of land at I-69 interchanges to any future leaseholder

Of course, the final version of the conference committee report could still change at any point today.

Entry Filed under: Transportation

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