Interstate 69 is an enlightening journey through the heart of America. With this epic tale of one vast and controversial road project, Matt Dellinger brings to life the country’s complex political, social, and economic landscape.
The 1,400-mile extension of I-69 south from Indianapolis, if completed, will connect Canada to Mexico through Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. This so-called NAFTA highway has been in development for two decades, and while segments are under construction today, others may never be built. Eagerly anticipated by many as an economic godsend, I-69 has also been opposed by environmentalists, farmers, ranchers, anarchists, and others who question both the wisdom of building more highways and the merits of globalization.
Part history, part travelogue, Interstate 69 reveals the surprising story of how this extraordinary undertaking began, introduces us to the array of individuals who have worked tirelessly for years to build the road—or to stop it—and guides us through the many places the highway would transform forever: from sprawling cities like Indianapolis, Houston, and Memphis to the small rural towns of the Midwestern rust belt, the Mississippi Delta, and South Texas.
In an era when bridges fall, levies fail, and states lease their toll roads to foreign-owned corporations, Americans are realizing the central importance of infrastructure, how it affects our standard of living and quality of life and how it determines which places prosper and which places fade. This book illustrates vividly that the story of transportation is indeed the story of America—and that story continues.
Matt Dellinger connects these dots with an absorbingly human, on-the-ground examination of our country’s struggle with development. Interstate 69 captures the hopes, dreams, and fears surrounding what we build and what we leave behind.
The genesis and subsequent history of the controversial I-69 highway, still underway after 20 years and still being debated, makes for colorful, quirky reading. Already running through Michigan and parts of Indiana, I-69 may continue on through Indianapolis, Memphis, Shreveport, and a few Texas bergs. If completed, it will stretch from Canada to Mexico. Detractors of the undertaking, projected to cost over $30 billion, describe it as a "NAFTA highway," an attempt to diminish U.S. economic primacy in favor of overall North American commerce. "Promoters speak as if their highway would be the mythical rainbow. Spanning the countryside, it would spin off glittering paths to fill pots of gold in every town and hamlet." Dellinger examines the many non-governmental options currently on the table, some involving the controversial practice of allowing foreign companies to lease roads long-term and charge escalating tolls. On the other side of the blacktop, anarchists have riled older, more conservative opponents of the interstate with disruptive and damaging acts. This well-researched book brings an engaging group of idealists, politicians, and observers to the middle of one of America's most famous stretches of road.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Good read for those interested in urban planning
Only downside: by the end of the book the reader is left wondering what I-69 currently looks like (e.g. which segments of road have been completed, what happens next in Texas and Indiana).