The governor wants to spend another $200 million on road work, and a big chunk of that money would improve the daily drive of southside commuters who face backups and bottlenecks along Interstate 65.
Gov. Mike Pence plans to ask a state committee to spend the remaining money from the Major Moves construction program on three proposed road projects, including adding a lane to Interstate 65 between Greenwood and Franklin.
For the thousands of commuters who head to and from Marion County daily, that would mean a wider I-65 from Franklin to the southside.
This spring, construction will begin to add a north- and southbound lane on I-65 between Southport and Greenwood, which previously was approved by the state. If the new funding gets final approval, the state will start the process to hire a company for work to widen the highway farther south to Franklin.
That will mean more construction on I-65 for commuters, coming after work at the interchange with Interstate 465 last year and continued construction this year to add an interchange in Greenwood at Worthsville Road.
But that also would mean I-65 would be at least three lanes wide throughout more than half of Johnson County, where up to 77,000 vehicles use the highway every day, according to Indiana
Department of Transportation traffic counts.
The money comes from the remainder of highway funding the state received from the lease of the Indiana Toll Road under then-Gov. Mitch Daniels.
In last year’s legislative session, lawmakers approved and Pence signed legislation that invested $200 million in interstate expansion projects and set aside an additional $200 million. State officials planned to decide if that money could be released based on December’s revenue forecast. On Tuesday, Pence requested that the State Budget Committee, a bipartisan group of the legislative and executive branch, allow the remaining funding to be spent, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
“When we call ourselves the Crossroads of America, we need to have the roads to back it up,” Pence said in the release. “Projected revenue reports show good overall financial health for the state, and I am confident an additional $200 million can be invested in a fiscally responsible way to put Hoosiers to work on Indiana’s infrastructure.”
The money also would go to two other projects in the state — widening I-65 in Clark County and widening Interstate 69 from State Road 37 in Fishers a few miles north in Hamilton County.