Spending private money to fund infrastructure is nothing new to Indiana, whose Interstate 69 project through the state's southwestern quadrant is called the largest all-new federal highway under construction in the U.S. Four years after its groundbreaking, nearly half of the 142-mile-long stretch opened in November. It was funded in part by a $3.8-billion lease of the Indiana Toll Road in 2006. As the project moves into its next phase, the Indiana Dept. of Transportation is again looking for private investors.
The future of I-69—a long-planned shipping corridor between Texas and Michigan that would ultimately link Mexico and Canada—is getting brighter even as states grapple with massive budget challenges. Indiana has closed a sizable gap in the route, with $1 billion of construction finished or pending on the planned stretch from Evansvillle to Indianapolis. The state's total share is estimated to reach $2 billion.