Chesterton Tribune



Visclosky honors 50 years of NIRPC in Congressional Record

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U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, has read into the Congressional Record a statement honoring the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) on its 50th anniversary.

Visclosky does not say so in his statement but NIRPC is currently facing the possible merger of its functions with those of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning: a move by the U.S. Department of Transportation which the current president of NIRPC’s Executive Board--Chesterton Town Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st--vehemently opposes.

Ton’s position on any merger: Northwest Indiana would “stand in line behind” Metropolitan Chicago when it comes to federal funds for transportation and infrastructure projects.

Excerpts from Visclosky’s statement:

“During the course of the past 50 years, NIRPC has been instrumental in shaping our region’s view toward transportation infrastructure as well as land-planning. Often, we narrowly view transportation infrastructure as simply the roads upon which we drive. The organization’s executive directors, Board of Commissioners, and transportation planners have challenged this understanding by developing programs focused upon regional transit, through its support for increasing commuter transportation opportunities along existing bus systems and the South Shore Rail Line, upon our waterways, by shaping transportation policies along our rivers, and upon our multi-modal trail system, the availability of which increased from 13 miles in 1990 to nearly 150 miles currently under NIRPC’s direction.

“NIRPC’s work to expand the concepts of interconnectivity within the communities in the three-county system benefits the economic development of our region as does its work in support of the Marquette Plan, a land-use reinvestment strategy focused on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Working in coordination with the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and the lakefront communities, NIRPC’s technical expertise has led to the implementation of transformational, intergenerational projects along the lakeshore.

“Indiana’s 1st Congressional District has resources other areas in our country envy--our transportation infrastructure, our waterways and shoreline, and our proximity to Chicago--all of which have been enhanced by exceptional leadership by the dedicated individuals and municipal officials which make up NIRPC.”

Visclosky concludes his statement by specifically identifying “just a few of the people who have made NIRPC’s first 50 years such a great success and guarantee at least another half-century of success.” Those people include NIRPC’s first chair, Dr. Joseph Forszt, and vice-chair, Virgil King; its first executive director, Norman Tufford, and deputy director, Jim Ranfranz; and the current leadership, “under the able direction of Chairman, Chesterton Town Councilman James Ton; Vice-chairman, Highland Clerk-Treasurer Michael Griffin; Secretary, Beverly Shores Town Councilman Geoff Benson; Executive Director, Ty Warner; and Deputy Director, Steve Strains.”


Posted 12/8/2016









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