INDOT overpaid for I-69 right-of-way

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A newspaper investigation shows that Indiana state highway officials significantly overpaid for parcels of land in the Interstate 69 corridor.

Our newsgathering partners at the Indianapolis Star reported Saturday it obtained confidential documents about the appraised values and the Indiana Department of Transportation's final offers for more than 30 properties. The newspaper found that INDOT offered $7 million for land worth a total of $3.34 million.

INDOT has said that $162.6 million in state and federal funds were spent on right-of-way purchases for the 94-mile stretch of interstate.

INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield said the state sometimes has to shell out more than the appraised value to encourage land owners to sell.

Denise McHenry, a former purchasing agent for the state, said, "There was no justification (for some payouts). They were throwing away millions."

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