Time to Slow Down

by Teresa Kendall, Candidate for IN House District 63


Mid States Corridor.  A road that has been proposed to link I-69 to I-64 for a quick, direct route to businesses in Southern Indiana can cause heated arguments among friends along with fear and anxiety for farmers and rural residents.  Business and local government leaders are all for it, ready to get things moving, claiming jobs, opportunities and more once this road connects us to I-64 to Kentucky and beyond.

Plans have been made, engineers hired, meetings held along with websites and Facebook pages all created to communicate with the Public so you could have input into which of us would have to give up our property and farms, or to how much of the Hoosier National Forest would be destroyed.  No other options have been presented to the public, although considered by the engineers were such alternatives as improved internet, creating “Opportunity Zones,” tax credits, loans, and improved Agricultural opportunities, none of which seemed to be pursued or put up for consideration to the residents of Daviess, Martin, Orange, Crawford, Dubois and Pike Counties; all of which would bear the physical burden of a huge interstate hub carved into the beautiful terrain of Southwest Indiana. 

As a resident of Dubois County and specifically Jasper, I am opposed to this road, at this time and at the cost to the rural residents, the farmers, the small towns and the irreplaceable Hoosier National Forest that would be forever changed by this massive construction project.  As a Candidate for District 63 Indiana House of Representatives, I cannot imagine the cost of this road could be justified at this time, or should even be given the green light without looking at more viable alternatives that will survive the future progress and change to come in our part of the State.  Building a new road, one that the taxpayers of Indiana probably cannot afford in the wake of a global pandemic, does not seem to be the best way to go right now.

We need to slow down. Take a deep breath.  Think of how to solve the problem of business-friendly transportation routes that do not destroy farms, homes, and our environment.  I live one block west of Newton Street (231) in Jasper.  Large semi-tractor trailer trucks rolling through a residential area all hours of the day are not good for Jasper or any town that 231 passes through.  Businesses in Washington, Loogootee, Jasper, Huntingburg and beyond need better and more efficient ways to get people and materials in and out of the area in better and more efficient ways.  Why have we not had the option of improving rail lines that can be upgraded at an estimated $250,000 per mile compared to the $13 to $19 million per mile to build the Mid States Corridor? Rail lines currently exist that connect our area coming from Indianapolis and building about 100 miles of additional tracks and improvements to existing rails would fall far short of the cost of building a new road. No one has ever spoken of a way to use the existing footprint of 231 to make it more viable for business while accommodating its residential and rural surroundings as other Indiana towns have accomplished such as Carmel and Kokomo.  Why is this road and the routes that were presented the only option?  

Southwest Indiana needs better transportation not only for moving material and goods for business, but to move people to jobs and healthcare and opportunities that are spread out over our beautiful Southern Indiana landscape.  But a new road is a 20th Century approach for this problem that needs to be solved with 21st Century resources and ideas.

Let’s stop.  Slow down.   We need to come together to communicate, share ideas and find solutions that does not create those that make a lot of money from the irreplaceable loss of our forest, our property and our livelihoods , but a solution that we can all know that we had a part in creating.


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