[r85] U.S. 24 Set for a Number of Improvements (12/21/2007)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Start Date: 12/21/2007 All Day
End Date: 12/21/2007

An exciting development will soon begin on one of our community's most prominent roadways. U.S. 24 is set for a number of improvements, including two diamond interchanges, a total relocation of the road and added safety features. This is a great boost to the economy for northeastern Indiana. The improvements will be funded by the Major Moves initiative that Gov. Mitch Daniels began in 2006.

Although Major Moves has been considered controversial by some during its short existence, the benefits of the program are undeniable. Major Moves raised $3.8 billion immediately to lease the Indiana Toll Road for 75 years to an Australian-Spanish consortium. There are several reasons why the current arrangement is better than the previous situation for Hoosiers as a whole. During the time the state of Indiana managed the toll road, it proved unable to handle the costs and responsibilities associated with the task.

Additionally, the agreement reached with the consortium is not a sale, but a lease, and as a safeguard, the toll road would revert back to state control if certain aspects of the contract are violated or there is a national emergency. In this case, the state would maintain possession of the original $3.8 billion payment.

The Fort-to-Port initiative, in planning stages for decades, will finally be brought to completion thanks to the influx of funds that Major Moves has brought. The monetary interest alone that Major Moves has earned is astounding, with over $260 million received at the time of this writing. An up-to-date counter can be found online at www.in.gov/tos/2280.htm. Viable and safe roadways are good for our community and our economy. The continuation of this program, as exemplified by the work on U.S. 24, will certainly make Indiana a national leader in transportation for generations to come.

The governor has mentioned on several occasions that the slew of phone calls, e-mails, and letters he received prompted the construction of the new diamond interchanges on U.S. 24. The activism our community has shown is to be commended. Information on new road construction in Allen County funded by Major Moves can be found online at www.in.gov/indot/5677.htm.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 1-800-382-9841, e-mail me at h85@iga.in.gov, or write to me at 200 W. Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46204.