Chesterton Tribune

South Shore mailings: Real environmentalists do not support South Shore extension sprawl

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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.

Perry Cartwright



Posted 1/25/2008