Voice of the People
Recently the Northwest Indiana Forum, has sent several mailings in support
of the South Shore railroad expansion. But their claim that this project is
supported by environmentalists is not true. The expansion proponents rely on
a sort of “cave man” environmentalism: “Train good, car bad.” But expanding
the light rail expressly for the purpose of developing unpopulated or low
populated areas is not an action environmentalists can support. This
particular project will produce more sprawl, more (not fewer) cars on the
road, and more pollution.
While there is a population increase to be reckoned with, it actually
involves a shift of people from Illinois and north Lake County for the
further out communities. Bi-state sprawl and disinvestment problems are not
good for NW Indiana or the environment. Fewer cars on the roads would be
good, but putting inducements for building even more houses and commercial
space --all even further from jobs in the urban centers-- is just plain bad
policy and shouldn’t be subsidized by the taxpayers. If money is available to
improve public transportation in existing communities so that more people are
able to leave their cars at home this would be very good for the environment.
But the plan being espoused by the NWIF and others isn’t an environmentally
friendly way to go.