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Indiana is Making ’Major Moves’

Fri April 13, 2012 - Midwest Edition
Jennifer Rupp


I-64- Cloverleaf interchange at I-64 and I-69 marks the beginning of the 142-mile extension from Evansville to Indianapolis.
I-64- Cloverleaf interchange at I-64 and I-69 marks the beginning of the 142-mile extension from Evansville to Indianapolis.
I-64- Cloverleaf interchange at I-64 and I-69 marks the beginning of the 142-mile extension from Evansville to Indianapolis. Pigeon Creek Bridges – The Pigeon Creek Bridges in Gibson County were among the first major bridges built in the I-69 project.

In 2005, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels constructed a plan — Major Moves — to lease the Indiana Toll Road (ITR) in exchange for an upfront payment of $3.8 billion.

The Indiana General Assembly approved the plan and in April 2006, the state entered into a 75-year lease with the ITR Concession Company LLC (ITRCC) to operate and manage the Toll Road. ITRCC formally assumed responsibility for all operating and maintenance of the Indiana Toll Road on June 30, 2006. Indiana set aside $2.8 billion of the toll road lease payment to fund highway construction programs.

Major Moves enabled INDOT to launch a comprehensive transportation network construction and improvement program to begin or complete construction on more than 200 transportation projects. Major Moves also forestalled the need to raise state income or gas taxes for transportation improvements and allowed Indiana to avoid future debt incurred by borrowing money for highway funding – which will save Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars in future debt obligations.

Additionally, through reinvestment of lease proceeds, using proceeds to match other funding, and coupling Major Moves funding with other revenue streams, INDOT has leveraged Major Moves funding into a more than $11 billion program through 2015.

Along with the Major Moves plan fund, INDOT benefited from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Approximately $71 million of ARRA funds have been applied to Major Moves new construction, allowing for accelerated and adjusted Major Moves projects.

One of the biggest projects within the Major Moves program is the construction of a brand new interstate from Evansville to Indianapolis. Section 1, 2 and 3 between Evansville and Crane are scheduled to open at the end of 2012. Section 4 between Crane and Bloomington are scheduled to open at the end of 2014. A completion date has not been established for Sections 5 and 6 from Bloomington to Indianapolis.

Designated as one of six Corridors of the Future, I-69 will ultimately extend from Mexico to Canada making it the primary north-south artery for the movement of goods and services in the US. I-69 is currently the largest new interstate construction project in the country.

Currently under construction is the 67-mi. (107.8 km) section of I-69 that will link Evansville to Crane while spanning portions of four southwestern Indiana counties. The interstate construction zone measures approximately 400 ft. (122 m) wide by 65 mi. (104.6 km) long across Gibson, Pike, Davies and Greene counties. The first 2 mi. (3.2 km) of the project opened to traffic in September 2010. Construction costs for this phase totaled $700 million.

Section 4 of the project connects Crane to Bloomington. This 27-mi. (43.5 km) stretch of I-69 crosses Greene and Monroe counties. Individual outreach, survey and geotechnical work is underway for this segment of highway. Construction costs for this phase are estimated at $400 million.

INDOT is proud to report that 93 percent of Major Moves contracts were awarded to Indiana companies (either incorporated in Indiana or has an Indiana primary address) as of June 2011.

Between 2001 and 2005, prior to Major Moves, the state averaged nearly $750 million for construction per year. Of that $750 million, an average of nearly $250 million per year was spent on new construction while an average of approximately $500 million per year was spent on preservation projects. Backed by Major Moves funding, INDOT will average more than $1 billion in construction dollars invested annually between 2005 and 2012.