Rosy picture of I-69 project is far from accurate

To the editor:

A recent article in The Herald (Dec. 4) painted a rosy picture of the new Interstate 69 without mentioning the many flaws of this wasteful highway project. It didn’t mention the farmland lost, taken from unwilling sellers or the documented sweetheart deals to special interests. It didn’t mention the widespread environmental destruction, the trees cut, the habitat destroyed, the polluted streams and groundwater, or the many failures and repair costs that have occurred during its construction. It didn’t mention the lawsuits still pending, or the fact that there is no money available for the rest of this damaging, unnecessary highway that for nearly 25 years has used cooked studies and emotional hype to justify its construction at an astronomical cost to taxpayers. Incidentally, a “common sense” alternative that cost far less was rejected every step of the way.

Sadly, our representatives in Indianapolis and Washington who call I-69 a “key ingredient” to economic success in the region even though that has never been conclusively demonstrated (and was not considered a “need” for the highway in the environmental impact study) scream loudest about the rising national debt, even as they attempt to cut programs that would improve the environment and social climate — both of which are widely regarded as essential ingredients to any region’s success.

Politicians talk a good game about reducing government spending. Shouldn’t we hold them accountable for selling out when they get to Congress by supporting wasteful projects such as the new-terrain I-69? We need to focus on fixing the infrastructure we have and focus on preserving our rural communities — not  on mortgaging our grandchildren’s future to build a road that will not only be obsolete before they manage to pay for it, but will only serve to degrade the quality of life for most of us living here now.

—Jeanne Melchior

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