TERRE HAUTE —
Good roads are a luxury item in Indiana.
Most Hoosiers would applaud Gov. Mike Pence’s objective to pull $400 million out of the Major Moves 2020 Trust Fund — a state savings plan for future big-ticket transportation projects — to renovate Indiana’s crappy interstates right away. Residents would also appreciate a $25-million grant program — crafted and approved by the Indiana House of Representatives — targeted for desperately needed road repairs by local communities.
A group of Indiana state senators, however, has decided Hoosier motorists can get by with less extravagant highways. The governor and the Indiana House thought it was time for the state to upgrade its road quality to a solid, comfortable Buick level. The senators prefer more thrifty, Yugo-caliber streets and byways. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to slash Pence’s $400-million highway investment by half. They’ll allow $200 million from the 2020 Trust Fund to be freed up this year, but the other $200 million will be held until budget discussions in the General Assembly’s 2015 session.
And the senators just scrapped the $25-million local roads program.
In “Seinfeld” terms, the Senate would call itself “extremely careful with money,” while others would call their decision “cheap.”
Sen. Luke Kenley — a Noblesville Republican and chairman of the Appropriations Committee — told the Louisville Courier Journal that declining state revenues prompted the action. Saving the other half of Pence’s proposed investment until 2015 was wise because, “We’re running a little bit behind” on incoming tax revenues. As a fiscal ultra-conservative, the governor is undoubtedly aware of that shortfall, and yet he still thought Indiana’s neglected thoroughfares deserved immediate, extensive attention.
Kenley, who led the charge for the wise Major Moves 2020 Trust Fund, even acknowledged that Indiana Department of Transportation officials “made a good case that some of the [$400-million withdrawal] would go to the Major Moves type of areas that it was intended originally,” according to the Courier Journal. Other Appropriations Committee members expressed greater concern that tax revenues were falling short, and unexpected expenses have cropped up; thus, they said no to fully funding Pence’s plan.
If Indiana can’t afford better roads — and outside visitors routinely mention their sorry state — then lawmakers need to recalculate their priorities, especially in weighing corporate tax cuts against safe, driveable highways for Hoosiers.
Likewise, the Senate’s gutting of the $25-million local roads program troubled some legislators. Tim Skinner, a Terre Haute Democrat and Appropriations Committee member, told the Louisville newspaper, “I saw some real benefits to that [program] in communities around the state.” Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma saw the program as important, saying, “Locals have a lot of challenges, especially with the amount they’ve spent on salt — record amounts — and other maintenance and snow removal.”
Bosma promised the Legislature would continue discussing road funding until the session ends next month. Discussion is good, but it doesn’t pave roads.
Senate move cheapens statewide repair plan
TERRE HAUTE —
Good roads are a luxury item in Indiana.
EDITORIAL: Pondering the jail problem
Our compliments to Vigo County Councilman Mark D. Bird for taking the time and investing the thought and energy into writing his detailed letter to the editor on the topic of the county’s jail, published in this newspaper on April 13.
EDITORIAL: Get smart with 911
Worst-case scenarios when emergency service are needed are not things people like to think about. But focused attention on details in advance could make a life-changing, even life-saving, difference in the future.
EDITORIAL: Dealing with eroded trust
Our neighbors in Putnam County are understandably concerned, even outraged, over problems in their sheriff’s department. People have a right to expect their chief law-enforcement agency — one of the most important public institutions in any community — to operate professionally and effectively.
EDITORIAL: Preparing for voting changes
The primary election, during which Hoosiers will traipse to their polling places to select party candidates to fill the ballot for the general election, is now three weeks away.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news (Honors for outstanding women)
Honors for outstanding women
Sprucing up around the wetlands
You can say that again
Reader Poll results
EDITORIAL: Teaming up to fight the ugliness of graffiti
Graffiti hurts the Terre Haute community. It deflates property values and local pride. It literally paints an image of carelessness on the city.
GUEST EDITORIAL: Despite high court ruling, big money may not guarantee election success
The Supreme Court has taken the predictable next step in the wake of its 2010 Citizens United decision in which it lifted the limit on donations wealthy donors can make to certain political entities.
EDITORIAL: Warm thoughts for Waltman
When Royce Waltman left Indiana State University as its head basketball coach in 2007, there was a sense of disappointment in the community that covered a broad spectrum.
EDITORIAL: Road work season requires motorists’ undivided attention
Spring’s budding flowers, trees and grasses are not the only colorful eye candy popping up on the west-central Indiana landscape. Those orange barrels and pylons common to construction areas are appearing as well.
EDITORIAL: Dangers lurking among us
Hardly a week goes by without multiple stories being published in this newspaper detailing the arrests, court proceedings, convictions or sentencings of individuals involved in sex crimes against children or young teens. It’s a disturbing trend that underscores the ever-present dangers that exist where we may least expect them.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news (New roles for proven leaders)
A couple of familiar faces in Terre Haute in the realm of public affairs are taking on new jobs, and we take the opportunity today to express confidence in their selections and best wishes for the future.
Editorial: Fast lane for road projects
Our interstate, national and state highways carry millions of people through and across Indiana each year. Those roadways form the physical connections among our communities.
EDITORIAL: A keen eye on ballots
Our governmental process has challenges at times, but it’s people like Margaret Taylor who make navigating the bumps in the road all worthwhile.
EDITORIAL: More jobs from Casey’s
Local politicians and public officials had been hinting that a major jobs-creation announcement for Vigo County would be made in early 2014.
EDITORIAL: Indiana 641 worth the wait
The fabled Indiana 641 bypass around the southeast side of Terre Haute has been a bit of a haunted project. Conceived in the late 1980s by visionary local transportation planners and approved by public officials in 1990, it’s hard to believe that today it remains incomplete.
EDITORIAL: New jail is right approach
It’s prudent that Vigo County’s governmental officials are reluctant to commit money toward an expert study of how to fix problems at our county jail — which is beset with inmate overcrowding, inefficient design, irreparable equipment and few good options for expanding.
EDITORIAL: Safety on scooters
As the dust settles around the big issues that dominated the recent session of the Indiana General Assembly, some of the more mundane yet important results of the session are coming to light.
EDITORIAL: Citizens have until April 7 to become eligible to vote
Vigo County’s voting process is undergoing a dramatic change this year. Voting centers are replacing precinct polling places, and a touch-screen electronic voting system replaces the pen-and-paper ballot. This represents long-overdue progress, a major advancement in the way people elect candidates for public office.
EDITORIAL: Bike park plan on a roll
If you have never explored the remote reaches of the wilderness area at Fowler Park, you may not truly appreciate the potential it has for recreational use by residents or visitors.
Editorial: Noteworthy in the news (When spelling is a family affair)
It hasn’t happened often, but it’s always a great day when it does.
EDITORIAL: Perfect place for pilot pre-K
National political experts closely watch Vigo County each presidential election.
EDITORIAL: Banking on the future
The largest and most influential bank in the two-state region centered in Terre Haute seems to have a historical affinity for years ending in the numeral 4.
EDITORIAL: Are you prepared?
Indiana is winding down its observance of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, a time set aside to remind us that volatile weather frequently accompanies the arrival of spring.
EDITORIAL: Calm before the storms
Spring, as the saying goes, has sprung. It happened Thursday, as the March breeze pushed temps into the 50s and set up what promises to be a spectacular day in the mid-60s today.
EDITORIAL: A place in the sun
This is Sunshine Week, named not for the approaching mild (and hopefully sunny) season of spring, but to promote openness and transparency in government at all levels.
EDITORIAL: Legal questions, legal answers
When the Republican-dominated Indiana General Assembly earlier this year passed a bill trying to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, many saw it as a small-minded, homophobic, even hateful attack on gay couples and a deprivation of civil rights under the constitution.
EDITORIAL: An event worth watching
Just across that invisible boundary between campus and city, knowledge, perspectives and — yes — opinions abound on topics of vital import to our lives in the 21st century.
EDITORIAL: Legislative session produced results both good and bad
The 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly was gaveled to a close late Thursday after a flurry of activity produced a dizzying variety of legislative action. Within hours, the session results were being both praised and cursed, largely depending on political and ideological views of government’s place in the world.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
In the competitive and highly entertaining world of collegiate athletics, Sunday is akin to a national holiday. At 6 p.m., the NCAA will announce the field and seedings of its 2014 Division I men’s basketball tournament.
EDITORIAL: Our children in poverty
An important gauge for measuring the long-term prospects of a community is the well-being of its children. For all the effort and progress Vigo County has made in rebuilding the economy and improving its quality of life, chronic problems with the welfare of its children still exist.
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- EDITORIAL: Pondering the jail problem