The USDOT has posted its Notice of Proposed Rule Making. The short version is:
DOT tentatively proposes to relocate the time zone boundary in Indiana to move St. Joseph, Starke, Knox, Pike, and Perry Counties from the eastern time zone to the central time 7one at the request of the County Commissioners. We are tentatively not proposing to change the time zone boundary to move Marshall, Pulaski, Fulton, Benton, White, Carroll, Cass, Vermillion, Sullivan, Daviess, Dubois, Martin, and Lawrence Counties from the eastern time zone to the central time zone based on the petitions from the commissioners in these counties. If additional information is provided that indicates that the time zone boundary should be drawn differently, either to include counties currently excluded or to exclude counties that are currently included in this proposal, we will make the change at the final rule stage of this proceeding.
So, two from the northwest and three from the southwest. The biggest fish is, of course, St. Joseph County. It seems odd they wouldn’t include Marshall County.
County Commissioners who have submitted petitions and want to provide additional data until November 10, 2005. Other comments should be received within 30 days of publication (by November 24 I suppose.) The earliest effective date of any time zone change would be April 2, 2006.
“An opportunity for oral comments will be provided at four public hearings in Jasper, Logansport, South Bend, and Terre Haute.”
The notice emphasizes the preliminary nature of the proposed rule and, in particular, stresses that neither counties for which a time change is proposed nor counties for which a time change is not proposed should regard the matter as resolved. “If supplementary information is filed by the County Commissioners supporting the inclusion of additional counties and it is not otherwise refuted, an
appropriate change will be made in the final rule.”
To aid us in our consideration of whether a time zone change would be â€œfor the convenience of commerce,â€ we ask for comments on the impact on commerce of a change in time zone and whether a new time zone would improve the convenience of commerce. The comments should address the impact on such things as economic, cultural, social, and civic activities and how time zone changes affect businesses, communication, transportation, and education.
. . .
We specifically invite comment from neighboring Indiana counties, and counties in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois that may also be impacted by any change. For example, we are aware of the importance of South Bend to its neighboring conimunities in Indiana and Michigan and specifically request comment on potential effects to those communities to the north, east, and south if St. Joseph County is changed at the final rule stage and placed in a different time zone from the greater Michiana area as additional information could change our tentative decision.
Updated 5:20 p.m. EST to include information from the NPRM after I had had a chance to read it.
Update #2 An AP Story has some comments from Governor Daniels and Representative Bauer. After noting Gov. Daniels’ Sept. 30 prediction that everyone who requested Central would get Central, the article states:
“Clearly there will be changes in this proposed rule before the process is complete,” he said. “Some counties that failed on the first try will, I believe, ultimately make a credible case to move to the Central time zone. And it’s obviously unworkable to divide St. Joseph and Elkhart counties, which form one, economic, social and cultural region.”
Unlike St. Joseph County, neighboring Elkhart County in northern Indiana did not seek a switch to Central time.
Democratic House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer, whose hometown of South Bend is in St. Joseph County, agreed that having the two counties on different times would create an odd situation.
Bauer, who opposed statewide daylight-saving time, also suggested that zone changes in general would create more confusion about time in Indiana.
“This whole adventure in time has been bizarre,” he said.
I’ve also created a new map based on the NPRM. The solid red counties are the ones the USDOT proposes to place in Central. The pale red counties are those who requested a change but have been preliminarily denied. The yellow counties are those that submitted a petition but reconsidered and backed out of their requests.
Update 3 Mary Beth Schneider has an article in the Indy Star. South Bend mayor Stephen Leucke said he is pleased South Bend is in the running, but criticized the process saying it pitted county against county. Similiarly Dennis Estok, the mayor of Knox, Indiana in Starke County was happy to be on the Central side of the preliminary notice, but was concerned that neighboring Pulaski and Marshall counties had been excluded. House Minority Leader Pat Bauer described the situation as simply “screwed up”.
Jennifer Whitson also has an article for the Evansville Courier Press. A Dubois County commissioner said they were done with the topic, meaning the county will not try to supplement its petition to get Central Time. Perry County Commissioner Terry Lock had been under the impression that each county would get an individual hearing. And, Rep. Dave Crooks called the situation a “complete mess.”
“I don’t want Pike and Knox on Central and the rest of my area on Eastern,” Crooks said. “This is just making matters worse. If we can’t unify the region, then just leave it alone.”
The Elkhart Truth has a story entitled Central Time proposed for St. Joe County notes the USDOT action as well as Elkhart County’s position that they would prefer Eastern time but they would also prefer to remain with St. Joseph County. I think their priority is staying with St. Joseph County, but it is not entirely clear which they want more.
Update 4 The South Bend Tribune has its story up. In particular, there appears to be a lot of surprise that Marshall County did not get a hearing. Additionally, a lot of sentiment that Marshall, St. Joseph, and Elkhart counties should be in the same time zone.
In the comments, Paul O’Malley brings up a good point. Only one of the four hearings is set to be held in a county, South Bend in St. Joseph County, where the USDOT proposes to change time zones. The others, Logansport, Terre Haute, and Jasper are outside of the proposed areas. Logansport in Cass County and Jasper in Dubois County are at least in counties that requested a change but were preliminarily denied. But Terre Haute is in Vigo County which did not even request a change.