Late Tuesday night, Gov. Mitch Daniels sent the following letter to state legislators who supported his Major Moves proposal. The bill passed Tuesday night. The House passed the measure 51-48 and the Senate approved the bill 31-19.
"Dear [legislative supporter of Major Moves]," the letter said.
"Public life presents few, if any opportunities to take one decisive action that changes the future in a measurable way, and improves the lives of thousands. Your vote for the Major Moves Roads and Jobs plan was, undeniably, one of those rare events.
"In his 'Profiles in Courage,' recounting moments of legislative heroism when people summoned the bravery to do what they knew to be right, at risk of criticism or even defeat, John Kennedy wrote:
"'The true democracy, living and growing and inspiring, puts its faith in the people -- faith that the people will not condemn those whose devotion to principle leads them to unpopular courses, but will reward courage, respect honor and ultimately recognize right.'
"Years later his brother Robert said progress requires change, and 'change has its enemies.' On the (Chamber) floor, you proved yourself a friend of change, and of progress, and a person of true courage.
"I thank you, as will Hoosiers of the future.
Th letter was released by the governor's office.
The highway bill passed both houses shortly before midnight Tuesday.
Support had been divided along party lines, with a few exceptions. No Democrats voted for the bill in the House and two Democrats voted for it in the Senate. One Republican opposed it in the House and four Republicans voted against final passage in the Senate.
Weeks ago, Brazil Mayor Tom Arthur told The Brazil Times he supported the measure because the Indiana Toll Road lease would bring tens of thousands of dollars of much needed revenue to the city.
But fellow Democrat, State Rep. Vern Tincher (D-Riley) was skeptical and told the latest cracker barrel meeting at Jackson Twp. Firehouse Indiana should have more time to look into the matter before acting upon it.
After the final vote, Tincher still felt that way.
"It's still one of those deals where we're not certain of the consequences," he said in a telephone interview from his home Wednesday morning. "(The 75-year lease) is a long time. We should have studied it longer."
Tincher noted amendments to the bill before its passage.
"It was obvious a few provisions were included to entice votes from the majority side," he said.
One of those enticements was to make the proposed I-69 a freeway north of Martinsville to Indianapolis and a toll road south of Martinsville to Evansville, so Martinsville residents could drive to Indianapolis free of charge but residents south of Martinsville will have to pay a toll to use the highway.
State Rep. Clyde Kersey (D-Terre Haute) said his mail was running 80 percent against foreign control of American public property, such as the toll road.
At the same meeting, Republicans Rep. Andy Thomas (R-Brazil) and Sen. Richard Bray (R-Martinsville) supported the bill.
"This is a 10-year, $10.6 billion plan to provide infrastructure investment in Indiana, including building new highways and repairing existing ones," Thomas wrote in a handout distributed at the meeting. "Under the current version, Clay County would receive $290,191.54 each year over the next three years."
Thomas did not return a call from The Brazil Times by deadline Wednesday.
"I don't like globalization, but that is history," Bray said.
British Petroleum is a large investor in Indiana and the state was glad to get the Isuzu plant, he said.
"It's a fact of life," Bray said. "(Globalization) is here. I'm glad to see $3 billion coming into the country, not leaving it."
The Associated Press contributred to this report.