New I-67 proposal, same discarded route

To the editor:

I had to shake my head in dismay over comments regarding the proposed Interstate 67, once called the Dubois County Bypass (The Herald, April 23). That we are even revisiting this discarded route for I-69 is shameful enough, as early studies found that it wouldn’t pay for itself over time and more recent studies have failed to include a cost/benefit analysis.

Calling the private Conexus Indiana think tank “independent and nonpolitical” is inaccurate. Actually, Conexus is made up of pro-development banks and corporations that include transportation-related industries like Koch and Toyota, FedEx and UPS along with others — hardly neutral parties to conduct any kind of unbiased highway study.

Sadly, relying on a study from this group is akin to putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Such a study will not consider the long-term benefits of the important wetlands that this highway would destroy, not the value of the farmlands or the forests over time. It won’t look at the negative impacts of the large number of homes that would be “taken,” of the numerous lives that would be negatively impacted, nor damage to the small businesses along the original route or to the social fabric of the entire community — which is priceless. Nor will it mention that future generations would still be paying the externalized costs for this wasteful project long after it has become too expensive to maintain.

Isn’t it time to stop letting corporations destroy our communities and dictate our future — all at taxpayer expense? Isn’t it time we focus on protecting our land base, improving our soil and our air and water quality? Isn’t it time to focus on improving the health and the overall well-being of all those who live here now and into the future? As one local farmer pointed out years ago, “At the end of the day we will find to our sorrow that we can’t eat concrete.”

—Jeanne Melchior

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