"It's been on and off for many years, dating back to the early 1980s," INDOT Media Relations Director for the Crawfordsville District Debbie Calder recently told The Brazil Times.
However, despite the ongoing discussion, the Clay County Commissioners decided against taking over control of the road earlier this year.
"INDOT has been wanting to give State Road 340 to the commissioners evidently for many years," Commissioner Paul Sinders said. "We receive a letter from INDOT (every year) asking if we were interested in assuming control of the road and every year, we have said no. At this point, we have said no.
"There are a lot of things to consider. Do we have the trucks? Do we have the manpower to really take control of that road? At this point, no, we have not agreed to accept it."
Calder told The Times the advantages of a county assuming control of a state road would include:
* Permitting becomes a local decision,
* Signage becomes a local decision,
* The corridor remains eligible for future federal transportation funding,
* Traffic control and operations regarding Clay Community Schools would become a local issue and not restricted by statewide policies,
* A low priority snow route would become a much higher priority under local control,
* Most all who use the corridor are local to the area and not state travelers, and
* The state already does and will continue to maintain United States 40, which parallels SR 340 the entire length. The state should not be responsible to maintain two corridors where only one is needed to serve state business.
Calder added the disadvantage would be maintenance responsibility.
"Our current (INDOT) District Deputy Commissioner, Alan Plunkett, has been very active in looking to turn over to local control, road sections that primarily serve a local traffic function," Calder added.
Still, Sinders said the commissioners believe it would not be in the best interest of the county to take control of SR 340.
"It has not really been discussed by the commissioners at a public meeting," he said. "But basically, there are so many things at this point where we just don't feel that we are set up to assume control of this road. There is so much to consider. It's much more complicated than a lot of people think.
"The budget does not permit us to do what we need to do at the present time."
Sinders said he has talked with commissioners of other counties across the state who are also mulling the same type of decision.
"There are many relinquishment talks going on around the state," Calder added.
But regardless, Sinders said Clay County is not interested in taking control of the road at this time.
"We have not agreed to it," he said. "We have never told them that we will accept responsibility for State Road 340. I'm not sure if it would be a good move on our part at this time. There are just too many things to consider and be responsible for at this time, in my opinion."