Make the connection on regional planning

Make the connection on regional planning

There are 18 comments on the The Indianapolis Star story from Feb 18, 2007, titled Make the connection on regional planning. In it, The Indianapolis Star reports that:

That's real debate over governor's tollway plan Our position: The proposed Commerce Connector is opportunity for Central Indiana leaders to think about regional planning.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Indianapolis Star.

Jay

United States

#1 Feb 18, 2007
Yeah, they're connected, but the closest thing to regional transportation is the mysterious "Hoosier Heritage Port Authority":

http://www.fishers.in.us/department/board.asp...

This weird and secretive governmental group owns the railroad that the Fair Train runs on, plus others.

But what do they do with these railroads ?

They lease space for billboards and cell towers ! Have you noticed all the billboards that have gone up recently near interstates in Marion County ? Those are all on rail right of ways owned by the Port Authority - which is also into providing fiber communications.

Question - WHERE does all the money go ?
gary Foreman

Valparaiso, IN

#2 Feb 18, 2007
We should look outside our borders when it comes to planning ideas for the future. First, let's break away from old, destructive patterns that don't work. We must develop economic incentives for reuse, re-development, and better planning within our urban centers. Second, let's finally realize that our insatiable appetite for gobbling up farm land for development is not good thinking or stewardship. Protecting the family farm is good, long-term business while farmers need to change the way they treat the land and see new opportunities.
lastrep

South Bend, IN

#3 Feb 18, 2007
Jay wrote:
Yeah, they're connected, but the closest thing to regional transportation is the mysterious "Hoosier Heritage Port Authority":
http://www.fishers.in.us/department/board.asp...
This weird and secretive governmental group owns the railroad that the Fair Train runs on, plus others.
But what do they do with these railroads ?
They lease space for billboards and cell towers ! Have you noticed all the billboards that have gone up recently near interstates in Marion County ? Those are all on rail right of ways owned by the Port Authority - which is also into providing fiber communications.
Question - WHERE does all the money go ?
Secretive governmental group? One that hasa web site? Really good at keeping a secret.
Robert Beatty

Palo Alto, CA

#4 Feb 18, 2007
A tollway is a bad idea. Several other other cities across the U.S. will vouch for that. Most never realized a fraction of the money they were supposed to generate. One big reason is people will avoid a toll road when there is a free option. When you are on vacation how many times have you looked at a map and avoided a toll road. The location of this tollway is also counterproductive to Indianapolis. While it may generate some economic boom in the outlying areas(which I doubt) it will do so at Indianapolis' expense. Not so long ago Mayor Hudnut spent a large portion of his term drawing business to downtown Indianapolis. He preached the revitalization of the mile square. The payoff is the beautiful downtown area that we enjoy today. This tollway will do damage to that and downtown Indianapolis businesses will suffer. Really the only area of constant congestion is the Fishers area. There are too many people in that area for the existing roads to support. A tollway miles away from that area will not relieve that congestion. Mass transit if only for the Fishers area would do more than this tollway would.
Civil Servant

Schuylkill Haven, PA

#5 Feb 18, 2007
I've wondered if the IN Toll Road lease had a low profile provision that allows the consortium which leased it an expanded ability to put more billboards along the toll road. Anyone know if billboards are sprouting up on the IN Toll Road?

Billboards should be banned, period.
cardcat

Marysville, OH

#6 Feb 18, 2007
It is funny why the Star never talks about WHY people move out of Indy. Until this issue is addressed honestly and openly, you will never get regional traction/healing. And Star staff if you ever do this piece, just present the facts and don't editorialize and play to the oppressed as is the typical fashion.
Take a look around, it isn't just white flight, it is economic ability and parental responsibility flight.
Mike in Greenwood

Carmel, IN

#7 Feb 18, 2007
As long as Brat leads Indianapolis, let's leave the discussion right where it is.

His planning track record scares the change right out of my pocket.

Plan for a new stadium and convention center by giving away most of the revenue production and needing to moan 'n groan until the state helps by securing the shortfall from other counties? Then, give away so much he can't even afford to clean the toilets on a regular basis?

Plan for police mergers as a money saving move only to find that implementation cost millions of dollars and once implemented he needed to talk about hundreds of millions in bonds to pay for pension costs? Or, talk about reduced coverage and any other back door he built himself?

Plan to take over township government and fire service only to find that someone in the county is watching which checkbooks have black ink and which have red?

Plan to bid for the 2011 Super Bowl only to demonstrate that he couldn't figure how to manage his way through 7 inches of snow?

Plan? He plans by writing checks and giving people things he can not afford.

No thanks...let's just argue the impact of the state's proposal(s) until there is someone in Indianapolis who can plan on an equal basis and pay for the result of his or her "wants".
Brad Hansen

Marengo, OH

#8 Feb 18, 2007
In 2004 IBM launched the Global Innovation Outlook (GIO), a worldwide collaborative conversation about the changing nature of innovation. The GIO brought together thought leaders from businesses large and small, the public sector, academia, citizens’ groups, the venture capital community and other key constituencies.

On the subject of transportation, the GIO 2.0 report released last year stated;

"The past decade has witnessed an unprecedented migration to urban areas and a vast increase in global trade. Even as the business world seems to be experiencing its highest levels of efficiency, this massive movement of people and freight is placing serious strain on the existing, sometimes aging, transportation infrastructures of the world’s older cities. Congestion is creating horrific new logistical challenges for emerging mega-cities, especially in booming regions of Asia and Latin America. Even modest-sized communities around the globe are grappling with increasing levels of pollution, costly delays and overall frustration on the part of people and businesses who feel constrained by their lack of mobility.

No matter what, some degree of congestion is inevitable. Frustratingly, short-term solutions to 'eliminate' it are often superficial — simply exporting the problem elsewhere, from city centers to fringes, from superhighways to access roads, from large cities to remote suburbs.”

This is what is wrong with the Indiana Commerce Connector. It is not only superficial, but is also contrary to any broader vision that addresses other growing problems, both globally and locally. These include increased transportation-born air pollution that's contributing to global warming… and the paradox of development vs. the increasing social and economic value of farm land, as the growing demand to feed the world also competes with the local opportunity to produce cleaner alternatives to imported oil.

But the report goes on to say,“Still, many GIO participants suggest that the more a city or region aggressively pursues innovative strategies for managing traffic—on land and at sea, of people and of freight—the more likely those places will continue to grow and prosper.”

We need more innovative ideas and strategies that encompass a broader vision to address our transportation and economic challenges. The Indiana Commerce Connector is not the right solution.

Brad C Hansen
Franklin, IN
Ethics Watcher

United States

#10 Feb 18, 2007
Robert Beatty wrote:
A tollway is a bad idea. Several other other cities across the U.S. will vouch for that. Most never realized a fraction of the money they were supposed to generate. One big reason is people will avoid a toll road when there is a free option. When you are on vacation how many times have you looked at a map and avoided a toll road. The location of this tollway is also counterproductive to Indianapolis. While it may generate some economic boom in the outlying areas(which I doubt) it will do so at Indianapolis' expense. Not so long ago Mayor Hudnut spent a large portion of his term drawing business to downtown Indianapolis. He preached the revitalization of the mile square. The payoff is the beautiful downtown area that we enjoy today. This tollway will do damage to that and downtown Indianapolis businesses will suffer. Really the only area of constant congestion is the Fishers area. There are too many people in that area for the existing roads to support. A tollway miles away from that area will not relieve that congestion. Mass transit if only for the Fishers area would do more than this tollway would.
The proposed location of the Connector Highway will not distract traffic off of 465 because it swings too far out of the way for travelers. Any trucker going through IN on I70 will not go that far out of the way when they can travel through Indianapolis for free. So this road will only serve the communities that it runs through and they will have to pay.

The Gov. says this road will increase business development. It may be right as it will create more gas stations, fast food restaurants, etc. that provides low paying jobs to our state. Is this his solution for the loss of high paying factory jobs that the state continues to lose under his watch?
Greenfield Planner

Greenfield, IN

#11 Feb 18, 2007
Jay wrote:
Yeah, they're connected, but the closest thing to regional transportation is the mysterious "Hoosier Heritage Port Authority":
http://www.fishers.in.us/department/board.asp...
This weird and secretive governmental group owns the railroad that the Fair Train runs on, plus others.
But what do they do with these railroads ?
They lease space for billboards and cell towers ! Have you noticed all the billboards that have gone up recently near interstates in Marion County ? Those are all on rail right of ways owned by the Port Authority - which is also into providing fiber communications.
Question - WHERE does all the money go ?
Really, how asinine are you?

The Port Authority owns the former Nickel Plate RR trackage from roughly 10th Street to Tipton. They allow the Indiana Transportation Museum to run on those tracks as the designated operator. They own no other trackage or right of way, and I believe they only have 2 billboard leases.

As for being secretative, the Port Authority is a joint authority with interests from Fishers, Nobleville, Cicero and Marion County. They hold at least quarterly public meetings in the Hamilton County Judicial center in Noblesville. Any funds they obtain through leases or grants goes towards the maintenance and operation of the tracks.

Back to the topic at hand...I see the "commerce collector" proposal as an attempt to distract the public from being outraged at I-69 south to being outraged at this project.

I see nothing good to come from it. Yes, there would be some economic development, but it would be low density sprawl with few high paying jobs. The likelihood of this new route attracting the office towers of north Meridian or Keystone or Downtown is extremely low.

The collector will offer the national benefit of streamlining the traffic from Canada to Mexico, by bypassing high traffic areas and presumably trimming minutes from the overall route. That is, if the overall increase in route length doesn't negate the time savings.

If, though, a private company sees a profit margin in building a toll road from Pendleton to Mooresville, and can get investors and property lined up, I would be all for that. The government though should stay out of this proposal because the detriments to the public far outweighs the public's benefits.
gaylon nettles

Shirley, IN

#12 Feb 18, 2007
not one acre of american land should be taken to create a profit for foreign business. Eminent domain is to benefit americans...not foreign investors. Ask your legislator is ANY foreign pension fund benefits from the taking of american land in this.
Kevin

Los Angeles, CA

#13 Feb 18, 2007
The naivety and mis-informed comments of the staff editorials never ceases to amaze me!

1) We already have a regional transportation planning organization...it's called the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA) and works together with the Indianpolis Metropolitan Planning Organization.

2) This connector idea is a political move by the Governor to deceive Indiana citizens and push forward the proposed I-69 project (aka boondoggle).

3) A Governor that has proven to have absolutely no ...is NOT a prime candidate to lead a thoughtful and effective discussion regarding regional transportaion planning.

4) I noticed you conveniently left out of your editorial the fact that Indiana taxpayers already paid $850,000 to fund a study that showed building an outer-loop would not benefit the area economically.

5) Take some time to research before you write. It doesn't take much inquisition into transpotation planning to come to the realization that building more roads is not a good solution for a number of reasons.
Questions

United States

#14 Feb 18, 2007
Where is the money for the State to purchase the land and homes via eminent domain going to come from? We are already not able to fund other things such as road maintenance, etc. Will it be a short term loan made by the private corporation to the State? Is that a legal use of eminent domain? Get the government to do the private corporations dirty work? The State can purchase the land for 100 to 125% of its value when the private corporation would need to pay the true market value...maybe 10 times what the State would pay. Would any smart truck driver use this road when there are so many others so close which are free? How many bumper to bumper semitrucks do you see on I-69 during rush hour?
And finally to the couple who were so impressed with the Sam Houston Tollroad around Houston. Thank you for making my point...the roads below were still congested and slow, so how did the tollroad help?
Jim Horton

Indianapolis, IN

#15 Feb 18, 2007
I don't think Indiana needs more truck stops and convienient stores. Those, along with highway construction jobs and a few low-paying retail stores, are the only "job creations" worth mentioning.
This state is proud of its rural heritage and this proposed "Connector" will destroy rural central indiana. Individuals in favor of this project don't live within the vicinity of the proposed toll highway. This idea of privatizing our infrustructure is not good for the long run. So far, I've seen our privatization going to foriegn ownership that cannot be a good thing. Why is it that a foriegn owned company can turn profits in huge numbers on our own infrustructure but we cannot? Why turn over our own U.S. soil to foreigners?
Each of the towns no the proposed toll road already have a highway leading straight to them. Why not widen and or repair these existing roadways to save money and land?

“P.C. is retarded.”

Since: Dec 06

Brownsburg

#17 Feb 18, 2007
I just don't understand why we can't have an open debate about other options. I would expect government folks to not bring up other options, but I would think the Star might see it as their duty to suggest looking at other options before moving full speed ahead. Very odd...
Jermaine O-Neal

Columbus, OH

#18 Feb 18, 2007
folks:
I think the confusion here is that everyone is discussing the commerce connector as if it were going to be built. Discussing it on the merits of _policy_
You have to look at things from the level of retail _politics_. This proposal is a _political_ ploy. It is a fake-out, play action, etc.
Recall that the announcement was made the day after the election where the GOP lost the indiana state house of reps.(Notice also that this proposal was announced before the Illiana Expressway.) With this reality before him, Daniels and his advisors and administration put out the message, "yes the dems won control of half of the legislative houses, but we still control the agenda."
No longer having unified control of the statehouse he could no longer ram through proposals on I-69 extension as he had with the tollway lease. So the trick is to put something so far out there that if he doesn't get it, he still wins. If Daniels "loses" on the commerce connector, he'll say "aw shucks, I guess we'll just have to go back to talking about tolls on I-69 extension again."
Everything Mr. Gary Moody says concerning the previous study is accurate. A second beltway is no cure-all.
But what you need to see is the contrast between all these proposals:
1) I-69 from indy to evansville has been discussed for decades. Moreover, other states are joining to build this into a NAFTA highway. No matter what those crazy hippies in bloomington want ,it will be built.
2) There was a grassroots spontaneous organization for fort-to port highway from citizens and local officials. What do you know, it's going to be built! Look for it to be upgraded to interstate standards decades from now.
3) The Illiana Expressway has also been discussed before. More than that at present Illinois is extending their second chicago beltway (I-355) to I-80. This proposal would extend it further to I-90 on the indiana side and I-94 giving a true second beltway around a good part of Chicagoland and "spillover-chicago" in NW indiana.
Questions to ask:
1) would lump sum payment to build and run Illiana be enough to pay for I-69 extension when combined with funds from tollroad lease?
2) if this is not the case, then of course I-69 extension will be tolled. But starting from where and will it be managed by a private firm in order to secure its funding and build out within the next decade? Also keep in mind: they still haven't ironed out the perry township routing yet. That will be a very hard political feat to accomplish.
Looking further down the road it is not yet clear whether or not there will be more "NAFTA" truck traffic on I-69 once it is completed to justify building the commerce connector. But in another 10 to 20 years if it does, don't you think we will be able to extract more money out of a private firm to build and run it? Wouldn't this especially be the case if it has been proven that there has been an influx of traffic to justify it?
As has been mentioned ad nauseum on here, there will have to be some sort of plan to deal with I-69/ 465 in Fishers. This does not necessarily require a beltway. This problem can be solved in a compromise short of building the connector at the present time.
OOIDA - Indi Voters Poll

Platte City, MO

#19 Feb 20, 2007
Dog

Chicago, IL

#20 Jul 28, 2013
Poll

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