The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Opinion

February 14, 2014

Editorial: Widening interstate may help commute for jobs

The expansion of a proposed mass transit system for central Indiana will likely not receive voter approval in the near future. A bill is in the Indiana General Assembly that would give Marion County and five others, including Madison County, the ability to raise income and business taxes to fund the expansion.

If it passes, voters would have a say on the tax.

And voters won’t want to pay for a system that they find impractical, particularly when we can still drive from Anderson to downtown Indianapolis quicker than waiting on a bus, train or plane.

With that in mind, it was encouraging to hear of plans to widen Interstate 69 by adding a third lane in the median between Fishers and Pendleton.

Currently, there are about 57,000 vehicles a day between the Fishers and Lapel exits; there are about 51,000 between Lapel and Pendleton on I-69. There are far less than the 108,000 to 140,000 that jam up I-69 heading to I-465 each day.

A widening would help the daily commute.

But it might also help draw business and industry that relies on accessible transportation. A passing observer will note that the existing two lanes of highway can become clogged with trucks. Maybe the extra lane can be designated only for cars or trucks.

The Indiana Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing on the project on Feb. 24 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Anderson Public Library, 111 E. 12th St.

If all goes well, the lanes could be open by 2017. That’s only three years away. And a mass transit system will be much further away than that.

Perhaps in the future, cars will be impractical in getting to Indianapolis. Maybe senior citizens will pack mass transit systems. Maybe workers heading to Indy will do the same. Bike lanes could be full of health-oriented Hoosiers. Maybe central Indiana residents will realize that cars and trucks are bad for the environment.

Until then — and maybe with a forlorn sigh — we’re willing to widen I-69 in hopes of attracting businesses and jobs, bringing new customers to the region and finding an easier daily commute.

If you go The Indiana Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing on widening I-69 between exits 205 (Ind. 37) and 219 (Ind. 38). The hearing is set for 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 24 at Anderson Public Library, 111 E. 12th St.

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