U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood informed Gov. Mike Pence by phone on June 25 that future U.S. 31 Hamilton County construction has been approved to use 90 percent federal funding, an increase above the 80 percent maximum for non-interstate projects.
Indiana is the first state to use a new provision in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) transportation legislation that Gov. Pence supported while in Congress. Indiana plans to seek increased federal match for additional critical freight projects around the state.
The Federal Highway Administration’s Indiana Division assisted in securing Secretary LaHood’s approval of $23 million in increased federal funding for the U.S. 31 Hamilton County project. Indiana maximizes its allocations of state and federal transportation funding before using Major Moves construction funds, which generate investment earnings.
“Indiana is among the first states to take advantage of innovative tools and resources under the MAP-21 transportation legislation to speed delivery of critical transportation projects,” Gov. Pence said. “We are following an aggressive schedule to finish what we started and upgrade 13 miles through Carmel and Westfield by the end of 2015.”
For the Illiana Corridor project, Indiana and Illinois were the first to publish a combined Final Environmental Impact and Record of Decision that was encouraged under the MAP-21 legislation. Indiana also used recent federal guidance to expedite surveying and other field work for I-69 Section 4 between Crane and Bloomington.
Indiana is currently upgrading and bypassing congested sections of U.S. 31 near Kokomo, South Bend and Indianapolis. When completed, the projects are expected to remove 32 stoplights from the route, cutting a half hour off travel time.
Upgrading the existing U.S. 31 between I-465 and State Road 38 to interstate standards is the largest and most aggressive road project ever attempted in Hamilton County. The new U.S. 31 Hamilton County is intended to reduce congestion, improve safety and provide continuity of commerce and regional travel for a U.S. highway corridor that carries more than 6,600 trucks each day.
For more information, visit http://us31hamiltoncounty.IN.gov.