Unless the USDOT is going to up date its docket some time this evening or over the holiday weekend, it looks like Gov. Daniels’ time prediction is inaccurate once again. Gov. Daniels had expected the time zone debate would be resolved by the end of the year. The end of the year is here, and there has been no decision by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. James Wensits writing in the South Bend Tribune reports that USDOT spokesman, Bill Mosley, said that the decision is scheduled for “sometime in January.”
This prediction can go in the trash pile along with his prediction that the USDOT would have several state wide hearings based on his request alone and his prediction that the USDOT would probably just grant every petitioning county’s request. Gov. Daniels’ inaccuracy on this particular prediction is not of much consequence, but I thought I’d point out that pretty much every time he tries to guess what the USDOT might do, he’s been wrong.
I have a few nits to pick with the Wensits article:
The issue became even more muddled after Gov. Mitch Daniels elected to leave the decision as to what time zone to be in up to individual counties.
Gov. Daniels didn’t elect this route so much as aimlessly drift into it. And he didn’t do it alone. He had the help of every legislator who decided to vote in favor of the DST bill without addressing the inextricably related issue of time zones.
Most [counties] elected to stay on Eastern time, but several, including St. Joseph County, petitioned for a move to Central time.
It’s wrong to say any but a handful of counties “elected” to be on Eastern Time. Most didn’t do anything at all either out of inertia or uncertainty as to what neighboring counties might do, and Eastern was the default.
Finally, there is this disturbing bit of information from Mosley:
Mosley said the DOT will likely give “a considerable amount of weight and attention” to a request by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels that St. Joseph County’s request to move to Central time be denied.
Keep that quote in mind. If St. Joseph’s petition gets denied, that will be evidence that a substantial reason for the denial was Gov. Daniels’ decision to violate IC 1-1-8.1-3 by writing a letter in opposition of the petition by the St. Joseph County Commissioners to switch to central time. As you’ll recall, IC 1-1-8.1-3 requires “The state supports the county executive of any county that seeks to change the time zone in which the county is located under the procedures established by federal law.” Rather than support the petition, as required by statute, Governor Daniels actively opposed the St. Joseph County Commissioners.