I got to bed early tonight only to be woken up by my crying 7 month old daughter. Advance Indiana and Taking Down Words are reporting that the House has passed HB 1008, privatizing the Toll Road and authorizing the Governor, without further approval from the legislature, to create I-69 as a privately operated toll road from Evansville to Martinsville but not from Martinsville to Indianapolis. Perhaps my daughter was crying for the road that won’t belong to Indiana again until she is 75. Probably it was just gas.
I don’t believe in an advantage that the Democrats can’t fritter away somehow, but this was something of a Ben Kenobi/Darth Vader moment for the Democrats, particularly in northern Indiana. You might recall the famous Star Wars scene where Ben and Darth are fighting and Ben says, “You can’t win Darth. If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” With this vote of 51 to 48, I believe the Republicans have created a solid blue strip across the north on the electoral map from Illinois to Ohio.
Governor Daniels has 3 years to rehabilitate himself in the minds of citizens. Representatives that have hitched their wagons to the Governor and his unpopular agenda items have only 8 months and two time changes to get the job done. And they might be able to do it if the Dems are as politically tone deaf as Advance Indiana reports Craig Fry (D-Mishawaka) as being.
Fry urged opposition to the toll road privatization on the grounds that nuclear waste could now be transported across Indiana on a highway controlled by foreigners. That’s just a little stupid. The foreignness of the toll road purchaser has never been the problem, it’s the privateness. And, even more, it’s the fact that the motorists of Northern Indiana will be paying for road construction in other parts of the state, and it’s the fact that future motorists will be paying for road construction in the present.
Another objectionable trait I notice in those who have backed two of Governor Daniels most controversial initiatives, Toll Road privatization and Daylight Saving Time, is a sort of inferiority complex they have on behalf of Indiana. With DST, the question was almost never whether the change would be best for Hoosiers in their every day lives, it was almost always a question of what those in other states think of us. “They’re laughing at us,” you could almost hear the proponents whine. And we have echoes of this once again in the reporting of Advance Indiana on Rep. Randy Borror’s (R-Ft. Wayne) sentiments, a sentiment I’ve heard before from the Governor:
Rep. Randy Borror (R-Ft. Wayne), the bill’s chief sponsor, got it right. We need to let the folks in California and New York know that there is something in between, and that something is Indiana.
I believe Indiana is already a great state, and I’m not particularly concerned what people in California or New York think of us. If we have problems we need addressed, we need to fix them ourselves.
Well, my daughter has stopped crying (and bless my wife, by the way, for taking care of her). I guess it was just gas.
Democrats focused on the loud popular opposition to leasing the Toll Road for the next 75 years in exchange for money to bridge the stateâ€™s highway transportation gap.
â€œWe are gobbling up everything â€¦ and weâ€™re going to grab it right now. Weâ€™re not going to leave it for our kids,â€ Moses said. â€œThen weâ€™re going to turn around and weâ€™re going to spend it, and weâ€™re going to spend it right away.â€
Ms. Kelly does a good job of explaining the general provisions of both the privatization contract and HB 1008.