Hill’s Bill Would Make I-69 Work A Crime

As yesterday just did not go the way that I wanted it to, I decided to wake up this morning with a better attitude. I even decided that I was going to try to find some positive Tennessee political news in order to be, oh I don’t know, a better person. To joyously look for a glass half-full is what my lofty intentions were.

And then I found this at the Commercial Appeal.

An East Tennessee lawmaker has filed a bill to make it a criminal act for the state to contract for any work on any portion of Interstate 69 or any other highway project designed to link Canada, the United States and Mexico.

The design, and in some places the construction, of Interstate 69 is slowly moving along in West Tennessee.

But Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, has filed House Bill 2785 to make it a Class E felony under the state’s criminal code for any officer of the Tennessee Department of Transportation to enter knowingly into any contract for work on I-69.


As I live in this fine area that would benefit from I-69 (inner 12-year-old always comes out so let’s ignore that) and you may ask why but it’s rather simple.

Roads mean industry. One of the most common known issues facing counties like Perry Co. is the lack of four-lane roads to that area. Has dude seen our desperate need for job creation in this area. Even where I live, where we are lucky to have four-lanes all over the place, it is still roughly an hour before I can get to the interstate going to either Nashville or Memphis. Trucks, for distributing products built in factories, sort of rely on interstates to get things from Point A to Point B. I realize much of this area’s manufacturing boom ended about the time I was in cloth diapers but it would help.

In an area that is suffering staggering unemployment numbers, I can’t believe the tomfoolery of Hill’s bill. I realize that some folks don’t agree with me, but looking at it from the perspective of long-term assistance to northwest Tennessee, it only makes sense.

We don’t have flying cars yet campers, so from an industrial standpoint, this would help. I covered this story when I was in radio nearly 20 years ago.

And Hill wants to put TDOT in the hot seat by creating a criminal code if anyone does contract work on this? Unbelievable.

And I was looking for a half-glass full this morning. I really was.

12 comments for “Hill’s Bill Would Make I-69 Work A Crime

  1. x2klb
    January 27, 2010 at 9:49 am

    It is pretty clear this guy believes that I-69 is going to be part of the “NAFTA Superhighway.” The inmates appear to be in charge of the asylum.

  2. grandefille
    January 27, 2010 at 10:39 am

    I’m ready to create legislation that would make pushing stupid-ass self-serving legislation in Tennessee a felony punishable by a minimum $100,000 fine and immediate deportation.

    And then we could go federal with it.

    Good Gawdamighty.

  3. saraclark
    January 27, 2010 at 11:34 am

    It’s real easy to file these kinds of bills and grandstands from the other side of the state and when your constituents aren’t effected. It’s time to get your West TN reps to pay him a little visit. Ridiculous. Next thing you know Campfield will be all up in your business too.

  4. January 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I weep at that thought. But you are absolutely right.

  5. January 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I hope this bill Passes. Stop illegal immigration. Stop NAFTA/CAFTA

  6. W
    January 27, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    HAH. I wonder if that makes me a felon for designing some of the bridges on I-69 over in Union City.

    Sounds like a little East/West rivalry. I bet he was all for I-26 when it was built over in his area.

  7. January 27, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    We live in a world where insanity is normal and normal is beyond the pale. We are a culture in deep and existential trouble. Politicians like this should be laughed into selling insurance for a living. Instead, they’re supported and celebrated by the wingnuts gone mad.

  8. Elmer Gantry
    January 30, 2010 at 10:29 am

    “Won Jan 27th, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Sounds like a little East/West rivalry. I bet he was all for I-26 when it was built over in his area.”

    Nah – Rep. and TNGA House Transportation Committee member Matthew Hill was just a Yankee toddler living near Fort Wayne, Indiana during the early 1980s.

    All I-69 supporters in West Tennessee should conntact TNGA House Speaker Kent Williams for not naming Hill as the House Transportation Committer Chairman.

    However, Speaker Williams did advance the nomination of Rep. Hill’s father – radio evangelist Kenneth C. Hill – as the new $150,000 director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (and as the saying goes, the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree).

    Other good news – Rep. Hill will be facing a strong Democratic challenger in 2010:

    TNGA House 7th: Todd Mrozek to challenge John Gregory lapdog Rep. Matthew Hill

  9. Elmer Gantry
    January 30, 2010 at 10:30 am

    All I-69 supporters in West Tennessee should contact and thank TNGA House Speaker Kent Williams for not naming Hill as the House Transportation Committer Chairman.

  10. Elmer Gantry
    February 4, 2010 at 7:27 am

    West Tennessee members of the TNGA make Rep. Matthew Hill back down like a scared little girl…

    I-69 legislation hits wall of opposition from lawmakers
    Posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 9:04 pm

    Here’s a novel approach to opposing a public project: Pass a law that makes it a felony for state employees to work on it. That’s what state Rep. Matthew Hill of East Tennessee did recently when he filed a bill in the state House of Representatives that would make it a felony for state Department of Transportation employees to work on the proposed Interstate 69. Part of the massive highway project would run through West Tennessee.

    As you might imagine, Hill’s bill ran into opposition. Paramount among the opponents are two locally elected officials — state Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden and state Rep. Judy Barker of Union City. Mrs. Barker said that when they heard of Hill’s bill, many of their constituents expressed concern about the proposed new interstate highway. “So I’m sending out an update,” she said. Because construction of I-69 is crucial to the long-term economic development goals of northwest Tennessee, it is a matter of great public interest. Therefore, Mrs. Barker plans to keep constituents informed on its advancement.

    Herron said he contacted Hill and expressed his opposition to the bill. “I talked to Rep. Hill. He promised me he would not pursue the bill as filed,” Herron said. “Before the conversation ended, he told me, ‘I love I-69. I love all interstates. I love all asphalt and concrete.’”

    Herron said the new four-lane highway will run through Obion, Dyer, Lauderdale and other West Tennessee counties and will “drive” new jobs, industry and small business opportunities to West Tennessee. “I-69 will bring jobs to our families,” he said. I-69, a proposed four-lane modern highway system, would extend from upper Michigan and the Canadian border, down through the Mid-South to near Greenville, Miss., thence through Louisiana and Texas, and terminate at the Texas-Mexico border.

    The contract for construction of I-69 in this area has been awarded to Ford Construction Co. of Dyersburg. “Ford Construction is to be congratulated,” Mrs. Barker said. “This company provides many jobs for northwest Tennessee families. A pre-construction meeting is being scheduled for the near future wherein Ford and its subcontractors plan work schedules.”

    The Tennessee Depart-ment of Transportation in Jackson is the project manager for construction of the northwest Tennessee part of I-69. The TDOT office at Newbern will provide project supervision by overseeing Ford Construction. Published in The Messenger2.3.10

  11. Jesse Overbey
    February 18, 2010 at 2:45 am

    I am conservative and an Independent. I grew up in Bristol and have lived in J.C. for ten years. I love it here and this is my home. I am an ETSU alum and I met with Todd. He admitted he saw an opportunity and moved here to take the job. He is no Independent and he has no ideas, he does not know our community. He is here to ride the wave of opposition to Matt Hill, he saw an opportunity and jumped on it. Todd is telling people what he is being told by his advisers. Most of his support is coming from Unions. He is a partisan ranger and will not represent us in Nashville. Todd is an ambitious opportunist. He is not right for Washington County.

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