News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Jobs

July 24, 2011

New Hoosier motto: Be less than you have been

The U.S. Army says “Be all that you can be.” Indiana is moving toward a different message, “Be less than you have been.”

But that message is not stated clearly.

Here is an example: The Cline Avenue Expressway (Indiana 912) is a major, limited access connector for traffic going from Northwest Indiana (NWI) to Chicago. It runs from the Borman Expressway (I-80/94) to the Indiana Toll Road (I-90) and the Chicago Skyway.

Along its route are major steel mills, a prominent casino, the Gary-Chicago Airport and dozens of other commercial and industrial properties.

Many months ago, a high bridge on Cline Avenue was declared unsafe by the Indiana Department of Transportation. Truck and automobile traffic was diverted off the expressway onto city streets. The bridge must be demolished. Hearings about building a new bridge were held and INDOT decided it was too expensive. Instead they proposed a “permanent detour.”

In effect, INDOT was saying, contrary to the clearly stated choice of the public in Northwest Indiana, the costs exceeded the benefits. Benefits to whom? Costs to whom?

The major beneficiaries of the Cline Avenue Expressway are the people and businesses of Northwest Indiana.

The costs of rebuilding would fall on residents of the entire state.

Federal funds likely would pay 80 percent of the cost for this major reconstruction. NWI leaders represent this as meaning Indiana pays for only 20 percent of the project.

This is true only if the feds increase the funds allocated to Indiana by the cost of the Cline Avenue project.

If, however, that 80 percent is taken from an existing, limited grant of money to Indiana for road construction, then other projects in the state will not be built or will be delayed.

In that case, citizens in other parts of Indiana would bear the costs of Cline Avenue in the form of reduced benefits for themselves.

The INDOT decision not to restore Cline Avenue was a blow to the people of NWI. It reinforced and increased their feelings of alienation from the state. To the apparent rescue comes Governor Mitch Daniels.

Last week, the Governor told reporters that it is not too late to consider a plan for rebuilding Cline Avenue. All that is necessary is a financing plan put together by NWI. The region is being called upon to fund the rebuilding of a state road. Imagine telling the people of Clark County to come up with money for a new bridge over the Ohio River. Or tell Evansville and all the counties north to Indianapolis that they must come up with funding for I-69. Not all of the money, but enough to convince the state that the project is “worthwhile”.

One of the casinos did offer $35 million toward the restoration of Cline Avenue, but backed down when Illinois started rumbling again about permitting open gambling in Chicago — a major competitive challenge to Indiana’s Lake Michigan boats.

Two issues are raised by this example: First, is Indiana moving toward taxing those who benefit directly from public projects? If so, the time has come for tolls on our major interstates and congestion pricing on our busiest streets. Users would pay, in part or in full, for parks and libraries. This policy also requires parents to pay more for their children’s education (have you looked at the state voucher program?).

Second, are we preparing Indiana to become less than it has been by reducing maintenance and repair of infrastructure? Is this how we cope with slow population growth and declining relative income? This then is the legacy we leave for our successors: a slow, cancerous disfiguration of Indiana achieved by accepting neglect.

Morton Marcus is an independent economist, speaker, and writer formerly with IU’s Kelley School of Business.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Jobs
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Militants, Israelis Exchange Rocket Fire Israel Widens Attack As Gaza Death Toll Rises Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets Netherlands Beats Host Brazil 3-0 to Finish 3rd Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets Raw: Sirens Blare Over Jerusalem Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' FIFA Rejects Suarez Appeal Against Biting Ban WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity