The corridor is the same route the Indiana Department of Transportation originally recommended in December 2003 and the same route the Federal Highway Administration approved in March 2004.
Indiana is positioned within a day’s truck drive to 75 percent of the U.S. and Canadian population, the chamber reports. “We understand and have already seen the effects of interstate connectivity as an important economic driver to our state and local economies,” the chamber stated in a news release.
“We believe the I-69 expansion is a unique infrastructure opportunity that will translate into new economic investment and new jobs for the Johnson and southern Marion County economies, investment and jobs that we would not otherwise be afforded.”
Experts at INDOT have already spent considerable time and tax money studying the costs, feasibility and other environmental impacts for alternative routes, the chamber noted. The State Road 37 corridor was INDOT’s ultimate recommendation after considering more than 10 options.
“We are aware of pent-up economic demand for the State Road 37 corridor to become I-69 section 6; some businesses have expressed a desire to relocate or start up along State Road 37 after I-69 is constructed.
“The construction delay and unnecessary rehash of the final section 6 route is further hurting existing businesses along the corridor, businesses that have suppressed expansion plans over the past 10 years because they were waiting for the I-69 expansion to disrupt or relocate their operations.”
The chamber also said it believes that the lost assessed value of property acquired for interstate construction, while an inconvenience, will be a short-term exchange for a long-term net increase in assessed property value gained from new commercial investment.