News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

March 22, 2006

Pete Chalos: State has moved too quickly on Major Moves initiative

The reason the government builds fire stations, roads, sidewalks and parks is to accommodate the general public. No single private citizen can afford to build all of these facilities on his own so we all chip in and pay taxes. As a result, we all end up benefiting from the use of the facilities. Government facilities are built for the public and they belong to the public. That’s the basic premise of a tax-supported Democratic society. Government by the people and for the people.

The citizens who pay for government facilities retain ownership. Our elected officials are hired by the public to manage our holdings. No elected official has carte blanch to do whatever he feels is best with our property. Our officials are merely elected to represent us, not to act as independent owners of our property. For an elected official to sell or lease our property out from under us to a foreign company is an outrage. It’s not his property to sell.

The Indianapolis Star recently published the results of a poll on public support for the governor’s Major Moves plan. Public support for the plan was minimal, about 30 percent. The governor is pushing his plan through in spite of the wishes of the citizens of Indiana. My Monarch Mitch doesn’t care what we have to say about it.

The governor says he can make a profit off of our roads by selling them to foreign investors. Nobody asked him to make a profit; we elected him to manage the roads and keep them maintained to the best of his ability. What good is making a one-time profit on the lease of the property going to do us if our toll roads are falling apart for the next 75 years?

No foreign company has an obligation or the motivation to maintain our roads up to the standards we expect from our own government. Foreign companies don’t come up for re-election. Foreign companies don’t respond to public petitions or complaints. We can look forward to 75 years of speaking to automated operators over the phone when we want to report a chuckhole.

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