Southsider Voice correspondent
The House bill that would allow the Indiana Department of Transportation to consider building I-69 through Perry Township was referred to a Senate committee Monday in the General Assembly.
House Bill 1036, introduced by Rep. John Price, R-Greenwood, passed the House last week 83-11. Reps. David Frizzell and Mike Speedy, both of whom represent portions of Perry Township, voted against the bill. Reps. Cindy Kirkhofer, Woody Burton and Price, voted aye.
As of Monday night, the measure had not been scheduled for a hearing. The committee is chaired by Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury. The bill is sponsored by Republican Sens. Rodric Bray, Martinsville; Greg Walker, Columbus; and Brent Steele, Bedford.
The bill would allow INDOT to consider a route for I-69 that could be constructed through Perry Township. The measure does not dictate the route, but it would allow INDOT to continue with its proposed Section 6 to go through the township and connect with I-465.
Southside Sens. Pat Miller and Brent Waltz are fighting to keep the ban that was approved by the General Assembly in 2006.
Miller said she has met with Yoder several times and has expressed her support of the existing ban.
She explained to The Southsider Voice that I-69, as proposed in all Section 6 presentations so far, would disrupt Perry Township public school bus routes and devastate businesses and residences along State Road 37. She emphasized that commerce along the highway has flourished in the township since 2006.
“It is possible that the bill will reach the Senate floor for a vote,” Miller warned. “I’m hoping we (Senate) don’t pass the bill.
Waltz pointed out that Perry Township would lose an estimated $300 million in assessed valuation if I-69 comes through the township. To make up for that loss, Waltz contended, property tax rates would increase for township property owners.
He also favored the cost effectiveness to swing I-69 west from Johnson County through rural lands and connect closer to Indianapolis International Airport.
Residents at a public meeting conducted by INDOT last week at Center Grove High School voiced support and opposition for the preferred route for I-69 that aligns with Ind. 37. INDOT did not present any alternative route that did not go through Perry Township.
Waltz and Miller are supportive of the route from Martinsville through Johnson County as planned along the path of Ind. 37.