Statewide opposition to the current plan to extend I-69 to Evansville got a boost last week when the City-County Council voted 27-2 on a special resolution opposing the route, which cuts through Perry Township. The route in question, known as Alternative 3C, was recommended by INDOT and favored by the previous two governors' administrations.
Dr. Phil Borst, (R) minority leader
Dr. Phil Borst, Republican minority leader and co-sponsor of the resolution, said his goal in pressing the issue was to represent what has become a wide coalition opposing the current I-69 extension plan.
"We're just one more voice," Borst said. "It's been a very active group down there. It's a whole group of people, Republicans and Democrats and environmentalists and business people. It's really quite a wide spectrum of people. I think the fact that there was just two people who voted against it shows that we made the case and that people agree it should not go through there."
The vote was a special resolution, meaning it did not require the signature of Mayor Bart Peterson. A spokesperson for the Mayor's Office said that his lack of involvement was due to a desire not to interfere with the extension project.
"We preferred the route that was outside of Perry Township, which I think was connecting with I-70," said media liaison Jo Lynn Garing. "But when the state decided to go with the route that went through Perry Township, we said that wasn't our preferred route, but that we wanted to keep the process moving forward, because we definitely support I-69."
The issue now is in the hands of Gov. Mitch Daniels, who has indicated that he may not go with the plan adopted by the previous administrations.
"Governor Daniels has said all along that we need to look at it and rethink it," Borst said. "I think he still backs the whole project, but this part of it I'm not sure that he does. He's willing to look at it again."
With Alternative 3C no longer an inevitability, the future of the project is once again up in the air.
"So far the governor has said, 'We need to build I-69,' but he hasn't gone in any direction as to what that route should be," said Jane Jankowski, a spokesperson for the governor.