This newspaper long fought for the construction of Interstate Highway 69 from Evansville to Indianapolis. More often than not over the years it looked to be a losing fight, but we and others stuck with it until then-Gov. Mitch Daniels took office and engineered the funding and construction of much of the highway. Daniels has moved on to the presidency of Purdue University, and construction of the highway moves slowly but steadily toward Bloomington and Indianapolis.

And now comes word of a new group of Southern Indiana and Western Kentucky leaders who have a vision for a third area interstate highway, I-67 which they see as running from I-69 near Washington, Ind., through Dubois County (Jasper), to Owensboro and on to Interstate 65 at Bowling Green, Ky. That’s from a news story by Mike Grant of the Washington Times-Herald, published in the Courier & Press.

The prospects for area Indiana and Kentucky residents and motorists are exciting, just as they were years ago when talks first began on Interstate 69 and the reality that it was a doable project.

For now, I-69 still has some serious issues, mainly paying for construction from Bloomington to Indianapolis along the existing U.S. 37 route, and paying for an interstate level bridge at Evansville/Henderson. That’s one advantage the I-67 bridge would already have, The U.S. 231 bridge over the Ohio River near Rockport was built to interstate standards.

Still, it looks like a long haul for supporters of I-67. For now, the state of Indiana has not included the roadway as a committed Indiana Department of Transportation project, and for good reason.

The state is in the midst of major construction projects started during Daniels’ terms. Hence, the state is not in a position to add the highway to its planned highways. Not yet, at least.

Another factor I-67 has in its favor is that Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann is from Ferdinand, which would be close to the envisioned I-67 route.

For now and for the near future, the state must continue to push forward for the completion of Interstate 69. Still we feel something of a kinship with those who one day will be campaigning for that third interstate highway in Southern Indiana, something thought impossible back when powerful forces in Indianapolis and Bloomington were campaigning to crush any hopes of an I-69. Of course, they lost.

Backers of I-67 proposal say they know they still have to fall in line while I-69 is completed.

Hank Menke, a member of the coalition created to work for I-67, said “We support I-69. We just want to get plugged into it. That’s my mission.”

Indeed, it is a worthy mission.

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