Thursday, November 09, 2006

who likes toll roads?

mitch daniels clearly loves 'em. but does anyone else?

today, the governor proposed a new "commerce connector" toll road, a sort of second loop 20 miles outside 465, except it's only half a loop and you'd have to pay to get on it.

the poorly edited indy star story has quotes from mitch and local mayors saying how awesome it would be if new economic development sprung up around this new toll road. but it strikes me an one enormous if. the question nobody at the star seems to be asking is who in their right mind is going to choose a toll road when there are free interstates not far away? it's a beautiful fantasy to imagine all those semis completely circumventing indianapolis, clearing up congestion on 465, i69 northbound, and so on... but it's a fantasy. trucking companies are not going to want to pay the tolls.

and let's not forget the enormous toll such construction would have on the environment. or how angry all those farmers would be about giving up their land for a new "road to nowhere". or the fact that anger over the last toll road debacle was likely one of the factors that led to democrats retaking the indiana house this year.

am i way off base here, or is this plan ridiculously naïve?


Steph Mineart said...

And then there's the possibility that a outer toll road would further suburban sprawl and suck more people and resources away from urban indianapolis, which is already a serious economic problem with the over-development of and lack of civic planning in Hamilton County.

Just moving the people we already have around isn't helping the state economy. We need the governor to attract new business and new residents to the state.

Joe said...

Lack of planning in Hamilton County? Sheesh, you should check out Johnson County - it's a free-for-all down here, and I think the county will soon lead America in the number of hair salons and nail parlors per square mile. We'd kill to have the level of planning they do in Hamilton County.

For better or worse, Daniels' idea to drive economic development is better infrastructure. There's going to be, at best, three options - Daniels' option, Bauer's option, and "do nothing". I await Bauer's option and hope it's not "do nothing" yet again.

As much as I'd like to see public transit, I don't think there's enough density to do anything outside of the I-69 corridor.

And as far as farming, I hate to tell ya, but it's not exactly a growth industry. My uncles who farm all have day jobs to make ends meet, and of five kids who could have taken over the business, zero of them went into farming.