News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

January 31, 2006

Pete Chalos: Major Moves plan could be major disaster for Indiana

The governor is at it again. First, he closed down license branches in rural areas, forcing many Indiana citizens to take a day off from work and drive long distances in order to get anything done concerning their license or picture identification (which he made a requirement for voter registration). Then he established an Inspector General to act as his own personal prosecutor (along with a staff of lawyers in every Indiana county). Then he crammed his plan for daylight-saving time down our throats.

This guy seems to think we elected him to the legislative and judicial branches as well as the executive branch. Perhaps he thinks we elected him dictator. He certainly seems to act that way.

This time, it’s the Major Moves Plan on the agenda. Up until now, the state legislature has always handled the placing of toll roads and set the fees. That’s not good enough for My Monarch Mitch. The governor wants to take control of our highways from the legislature and hand it over to foreign companies operating under his supervision.

The governor’s Major Moves Plan grants the governor himself extensive power to enter into Public Private Partnerships (P3) with foreign companies. The stated purpose of the bill (HB 1008) is to allow the governor to lease East/West Indiana toll roads to a foreign company, including all of the motels, gas stations and rest stations along the toll roads (which would no longer be subject to property taxes), but the bill also applies to projects like I-69 (though not directly specified in the bill), all intermodel facilities, airports, ports (Lake Michigan and Ohio River), bridges and other transportation facilities or infrastructure.

Basically, the governor could implement a P3 when it comes to any project related to transportation that involves any combination of the following: planning, acquisition, construction, improvement, extension, operation, maintenance and financing of projects.

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