For immediate release:
Sept. 22, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS - State Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) today issued the following statement on the ongoing mess that is construction of Interstate 69:
“By now, it is obvious that the Pence administration’s experiment in having the private sector handle the construction of I-69 between Bloomington and Martinsville has been a miserable failure. In fact, it is threatening to undercut the whole concept of replacing simple state construction contracts with public-private partnerships. In this instance, there was no need for a complex transaction. Nor did the Pence administration protect Hoosier safety and Hoosier dollars by drafting an enforceable agreement.
“We have been told that completion of Section 5 of I-69 is now ‘hoped’ to be October 2017. For those who are keeping track, that’s a year after it was supposed to be done…and there’s no guarantee that new completion date is anything more than a guess. If this third deadline is missed by even a little, we will face a third winter of traffic jams rather than the one we already endured.
“Nor should it be a surprise that the parties involved are engaging in a massive display of passing the buck in determining who is at fault. The administration tells us the blame belongs exclusively with the lead contractor on the project, Isolux Corsan. In turn, the lead contractor says the blame belongs to the state and the public-private partnership that is supposed to oversee this project.
“It is a situation that cries out for leadership from our state’s chief executive. Unfortunately, he’s been traveling the country running for higher office.
“The solution is simple.
“Governor, you need to get back to Indiana and end this farce as soon as possible. Stop this contract. Get the failed contractor off the job and bring in some competent people who have the financial strength to do the job.
“There are those who throw up their arms in horror at such a prospect. They say it will lead to lawsuits, heaven forbid.
“To them I say we are already way down the road to seeing this matter litigated in our court system. We already are seeing more burdens heaped upon the unfortunate victims of this mess: the people of Indiana. Our Attorney General should turn his attention from social issues and fight to save us money and complete our roads.
“The sad reality is that rather than spend a small part of our surplus or borrow at historically low rates, the Governor chose financial engineering. The result is that a Canadian pension fund is using a Spanish contractor to build and control one 21-mile stretch of a critical road. The Spanish contractor is in financial distress and the bonds issued in our name are now rated as ‘speculative.’
“Indiana 37 wasn't great but it was open and usable. This experiment has denied us even these benefits.
“Let us tell the public that this cannot and will not be tolerated. Their trust should not be held hostage to a flawed system. Kick the contractor off our road and get our people paid. If there are lawsuits, defend them and win them.”