Although the selection of a new terrain route for I-69 cutting through Southern Indiana seems to be set in stone by now, a growing and vocal opposition continues to reach out to legislators and the public.
A handful of members of the weekend protest against the I-69 expansion spray-painted graffiti on the Statehouse wall, leading to 24 arrests.
About 75 protesters gathered downtown Saturday afternoon to make their concerns known, marching around Monument Circle and to the Statehouse.
"I hope one of these days that we'll be heard," said Jan Boyd, whose family farm of 85 years will be lost to the new terrain route. "There's an awful lot of people that want to be heard. And we're all different people. And none of us are being heard."
The final minutes of the march were marred when several members of the group spray-painted graffiti on the Statehouse wall, and police converged on the protest, making 24 arrests.
However, despite the vandalism, organizers emphasized that the majority of their members focus on peaceful means and hope to educate the public.
"Hopefully, the people of Indiana will realize, once their pocketbooks are being hit, that the opposition is right," said Sam Flenner, who has been involved in opposition to the I-69 expansion for years. "Conservative, Republican, liberal, Democrat, it doesn't matter. By all those standards new terrain is wrong. We have the fiscal, economic, social and environmental high ground."
According to Flenner, one of the best hopes remaining for the opposition is with the Statehouse.
"Taxpayers are being robbed. If the taxpayer realizes what's happening to them, that's what can nail this to the wall. If that can happen, the highway can be stopped."
Robin Tala, director of the Bloomington Circus Collective, is another active member of the opposition. "The ad hoc citizen's coalition is a coalition of many different people, Republican and Democratic, Greens and Libertarians," Tala said. "While the tactics employed at this action are not necessarily the tactics we would encourage, I think many in the coalition are fully in solidarity with the people who have taken these actions."
Tala and Flenner noted that during the public comment period, INDOT received 1,406 comments in favor of the new terrain route, and 20,467 against.
"All the facts are on our side," Tala said. "The only way this project can happen is if they convince the public to sit down and shut up. And I think that's just the opposite of what's happening. In the last years we've seen the opposition to this project get louder and louder."