Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Mitch in Town

Governor Mitch Daniels and INDOT Commissioner Tom Sharp will be in Fort Wayne today for a news conference to discuss the Governor's "Major Moves" transportation initiative, which was revealed yesterday.

Already, that ten-year plan for Indiana's highways is making news, as Daniels proposed nearly doubling the rate on the Indiana Toll Road and looking into leasing it to a private company, as well as having an outside company build the extension of I-69 to Evansville -- as a toll road.

UPDATE: More from Nikki Kelly's article on the highways plan:
In northeast Indiana, Daniels placed a high priority on the Fort to Port project, which will upgrade U.S. 24 from Fort Wayne to the Ohio state line into a limited access expressway. The $84 million project has an estimated 2012 completion date.

The project will more easily connect Indiana with the Port of Toledo and help open up trade possibilities for the agricultural industry.

“It’s a great day for Fort Wayne, a great day for Allen County and northeast Indiana,” said Larry Graham, who co-chaired the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce’s task force on the project. Construction is set to begin in 2008.

But after Fort to Port, northeast Indiana is not in line for much of the pie.

Projects in the Fort Wayne transportation district account for 5.5 percent of all the new construction – the smallest of any of the districts around the state. And some counties have no new projects on the list at all, including Huntington, Wells, Whitley, Adams and Wabash.
It not be a large percentage, but we are in line for a sizeable number of upgrades, and to major roads in the area. Yesterday fellow JG writer Tracy Warner listed all of the proposed projects for northeast Indiana on his blog:
Tracy also noted this:
Another project with a Fort Wayne connection is the final leg of the Hoosier Heartland Corridor, the four-lane highway from the Fort to Lafayette. The remaining segment, Indiana 25 from Logansport to Lafayette, would be built in phases from 2011 to 2016.
AND: If you're upset about the toll increase, here's something to chew on:
Indiana hasn’t raised tolls since 1985, during which time the consumer price index has risen 80 percent. And Daniels pointed out that Hoosiers pay for only a third of the tolls collected on the road. The rest are out-of-state travelers.

“Our current rates are far behind neighboring states. It is time for the toll road to resume its role as a vital economic engine for northern Indiana,” said INDOT Commissioner Thomas Sharp.

Toll increases will vary according to entry point and length of travel, and will generally be less for shorter trips.

For example, the car toll to travel the entire 157-mile span from Ohio to Illinois will jump from $4.65 to $8. The truck toll will jump from $14.55 to $32. For a car traveling from the Ohio state line to Interstate 69 the cost would jump about a quarter. No estimate was available for trucks.



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