Senator Joe Zakas

    From State Senator
    District 11

    TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 2003 (317) 232-9498

    Bill supports efforts of Indiana Congressional Delegation to seek
    federal funding for U.S. 31 freeway project

    INDIANAPOLIS -State Senator Joe Zakas (R-Granger) authored a resolution to urge federal funding for the U.S. 31 expressway project, which passed the Senate today unanimously. Speaker Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) will sponsor the resolution in the House of Representatives.

    "This resolution is one way that we can show support to Congress for additional funding," said Zakas. "The expressway project is crucial in order to improve safety and further economic development throughout the U.S. 31 corridor."

    Senate Concurrent Resolution 36 is co-authored by the 12 senators whose districts are impacted by the corridor and supported by the U.S 31 Coalition. The resolution encourages the efforts of the Indiana Congressional delegation to seek federal funding for the U.S. 31 expressway project in an upcoming highway projects bill before Congress. The corridor, stretching from Indianapolis to South Bend, has been planned for improvement to a limited-access, interstate-quality highway.

    From an economic development standpoint, U.S. 31 connects Indiana's two largest economic markets: Indianapolis and the South Bend and Elkhart areas. Along the corridor, the population is growing at a rate of 50 percent higher than the rate of growth in the rest of the state. Travel on U.S. 31 is projected to increase by 59 percent in 20 years, with traffic in some segments growing by 100 percent.

    According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, the economic impact of a U.S. 31 expressway is projected to create over 5,000 jobs, save billions of dollars in travel time reductions and return $3.20 in benefits for each $1 spent to build it.

    "It is in the interest of Hoosiers and north central Indiana employers to have this expressway project completed as soon as possible," said Zakas. "We are supporting members of our Indiana Congressional Delegation, who are working hard to secure those funds. With Interstate 69 to the east and Interstate 65 to the west, my hope is the day will come when we can rename the corridor 'Interstate 67'."

    Congress has started hearings on the reauthorization of TEA-21, the federal highway funding bill.

    A radio feed relating to this press release can be found at

    Zakas represents Senate District 11, which includes portions of Elkhart and St. Joseph counties.





Indiana State House, 200 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204