The Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce says a route using State Road 37 to connect Martinsville to Indianapolis would be the best option for section six of the I-69 expansion project. The chamber says the “unnecessary rehash” of the route is hurting businesses along the corridor that are delaying expansion plans.

January 16, 2015

News Release

Greenwood, Ind. — The Greater Greenwood Chamber endorses the State Road 37 corridor from Martinsville north to Interstate 465 in Indianapolis as the Chamber's preferred route for section six of the Southwest Indiana Interstate 69 expansion project.

This SR 37 corridor is the same route INDOT originally recommended in December 2003, and the same route the Federal Highway Administration approved in March 2004.

Indiana is positioned within a day's truck drive to 75% of the US and Canadian population. We understand, and have already seen the effects of, interstate connectivity as an important economic driver to both our state and local economies. It is a widely accepted economic development principle that interstates drive new investment and new jobs.

We believe the I-69 expansion is a unique infrastructure opportunity that will translate into new economic investment and new jobs for the Johnson and Southern Marion County economies; investment and jobs that we would not otherwise be afforded.

Furthermore, we also note:

–Experts at INDOT already spent considerable time and tax money studying the costs, feasibility, and other environmental impacts for alternative routes; the SR 37 corridor was INDOT's ultimate recommendation after considering more than ten options.

–We are aware of pent-up economic demand for the SR 37 corridor to become I-69 section six; some businesses have expressed a desire to relocate or start-up along the SR 37 corridor after I-69 is constructed.

–The construction delay and unnecessary rehash of the final section six route is further hurting existing businesses along the SR 37 corridor that have suppressed expansion plans over the last 10 years because they were waiting for the I-69 expansion to disrupt or relocate their operations.

–Not all business which will be disrupted oppose this corridor; we have spoken with businesses that must relocate but still support the SR 37 corridor for I-69 section six because they believe in the greater economic good for the entire community.

–We believe the lost assessed value of property acquired for interstate construction, while an inconvenience, will be a short-term exchange for a long-term net increase in assessed property value gained from new commercial investment; this can have a positive long-term impact on local school, library, fire, and municipal taxing districts.

–Community leaders will advise INDOT on the final corridor development plan; strategically placed underpasses and ample frontage roads can accelerate the opportunity for replacement plus new commercial investment (and thus assessed property value), as well as alleviate concern for connectivity between existing roads.

–The following economic development organizations and civic leaders also endorse the SR 37 corridor as their preferred route for the section six I-69 expansion: Franklin Chamber of Commerce, Johnson County Development Corporation, Mayor of Greenwood, Mayor of Franklin, Town of Bargersville, Johnson County Commissioners, and Johnson County Council.

Related: Remove Prohibitive Legislation

The SR 37 corridor connects with I-465 in Perry Township, Marion County. We therefore support Representative John Price's bill (HB 1036) to remove the requirement that the general assembly enact a statute authorizing the construction of I-69 in Perry Township (Marion County) before I-69 may be constructed in Perry Township.

Roads and highways vital to sustaining international commerce and Indiana's economy should be designed and planned by trained transportation experts, not politicians.

About the Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, incorporated in 1954, is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit business membership organization. Its growing membership of 800 represents small organizations, big corporations, and self-employed individuals conducting business in northern Johnson and southern Marion Counties. The Greater Greenwood Chamber's mission is to maximize members' business potential by optimizing connections, resources and advocacy efforts. Visit the Chamber's website, www.GreenwoodChamber.com, for membership information, a directory of member businesses, community demographics, business resources, and Chamber events.

Source: Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce

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