BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - The Bloomington/ Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization voted down the state's request to move Interstate 69 construction into Monroe County.
The 8-3 vote came after three and a half hours of testimony from angry opposition.
INDOT Deputy Commissioner Samuel Sarvis said he's surprised about the vote and doesn't know what the next steps will be.
"It's a hurdle, but I don't know yet ... to what extent," he said.
The state has been planning the I-69 extension project for more than 20 years. It's expected to cost $3.1 billion.
Construction is under way on Phases 1 through 3 of the I-69 project. INDOT said it's ready to move forward to Phase 4, but Monroe County isn't.
"Those of us who live along Section 4 have been in it for the long haul," said Monroe County farm owner Sheryl Munson, "and will continue to be. It's our tax money, it's our way of life."
But Sarvis emphasized the benefits of the project.
"I'm hopeful that what we're doing is going to go well and provide some benefit for millions of Hosiers," he said.
As the project moves closer to populated areas the debate moves closer to home and work for some people.
INDOT says it will appraise properties affected and compensate home or business owners in the way of the state's top transportation project, but not first without approval from Monroe County.
1:30 P.M. UPDATE: Indiana State Police handled 20 slide-offs in the Bloomington district because of the winter weather, as of 12:30 p.m. Troopers also reported 14 car crashes and 16 cases of helping a motorist.
Click to see photos from the First Prairie Creek Church Fire.
Legislators had lengthy debates in this year's session over bills aimed at boosting the state's casinos as they face greater competition from neighboring states, but turned down most of those proposals.