During his reelection campaign, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard told voters he wanted to transform the often congested intersection at 96th Street and Keystone Avenue into a roundabout interchange, similar to 116th Street and Keystone.
His opponent, Carmel City Council President Rick Sharp, questioned the cost and necessity of such a project. But Brainard won and proceeded with filing for federal grant money to help pay for construction.
Recently, Carmel found out they lost out when it came to their bid for $19.4 million from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grant program for the $31.9 million proposed teardrop roundabout.
Brainard said losing out on the grant this year doesn’t mean the end of the project. He said the city was told that transportation officials were impressed with the application and that Carmel is encouraged to apply again.
“Competition is really tough and we understood that,” Brainard said.
Brainard said the project will continue, whether that means applying again or possibly just using more local funds. Carmel City Councilor Sue Finkam said she thinks the project can be accomplished without the TIGER grant.
“You just have to make some spending decisions,” she said.
Sharp said he wasn’t sure whether the project should or could proceed without the grant money.
“The mayor has proven he will build anything he wants to,” he said. “Should it be built? I don’t think so, and I didn’t think so before the election. We’re talking about spending tens of millions of dollars to solve a problem during two hours a day. Sometimes you can’t solve rush hour.”