Tuesday, September 21, 2010

a book on I-69!

A book review by Mary O'Grady in the WSJ-- of Interstate 69...

The road has been a contentious subject in some circles within Indiana-- especially in the SW, given the painful environmental consequences of the decisions about where to put the road. (It was a very small part of my congressional campaign, but could have been much larger; I couldn't get the opponents to side with me-- over my two opponents who favored what they despised! Ahhh...politics!)

A 1990 study looked at the potential for new federally funded routes in the region and concluded that, for the money, they didn't make sense. But that same year David Reed, a researcher for the Hudson Institute, then headquartered in Indianapolis, came up with another idea: Take I-69, an interstate running from Port Huron, Mich., on the Canadian border, to Indianapolis, and finish it all the way to Mexico. Mr. Reed reasoned that Indiana then wouldn't be alone in lobbying for federal funds, and the rural corner of the state being championed by Mr. Graham would lie smack in the middle of a vibrant new commercial corridor.

What followed, under Mr. Graham's leadership, was the I-69 Mid-Continent Highway Coalition. Proponents in Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas joined. Washington politicians and big-name lobbying firms such as Patton Boggs signed on. Republican Sen. Trent Lott (now a Patton Boggs lobbyist) wanted a piece of the action for Mississippi. He made his support contingent on snaking the road through his state.

Twenty years later, though, the extension of I-69 remains a dream—or, for some, a nightmare—and in "Interstate 69" Matt Dellinger explains why, mapping the story of what "could be the last great interstate built in America."...


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