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Toll Road Lease Boosts Road Construction

Last updated on Thursday, June 28, 2007

(UNDATED) - Roughly two-thirds of the $3.8-billion-dollar lease payment for the Indiana toll road was funneled directly into building more roads.

Add interest and the money the state expected to spend on highways anyway, and you get a 12-billion-dollar construction blitz. Spending began right away.

Five projects are already done, including improved interstate exits on I-69 in Fishers and I-65 in Greenwood, and a mile of added lanes on U.S. 27 in Richmond.

The first-year construction plans alone stretch far beyond the toll road, reaching as far south as Vigo and Spencer counties, and eventually touching the entire state

The ten-year construction plan was assembled based on a formula which ranked projects according to need, cost, and the time necessary to complete them, then matched them against the available money.

Transportation commissioner Karl Browning says that plan has already changed a little, and will continue to do so. A prominent example: a new interchange on State Road 3.

The interchange wasn't on the original major moves list either -- until Honda came calling, looking for a place to build a new factory. With $3 billion in the bank, Browning says the state had the flexibility to move State Road 3 to the head of the line.

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