Chesterton Tribune

Proposed private toll road will not cut congestion on I-94 freeway

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Voice of the People

While it’s easy to see why the South County residents are furious about the impending toll road, what about everybody else? Are there reasons for the folks in the rest of the county to oppose it?

Most folks in the Northern part of the county hear the mantra of less truck congestion on 94. That does sound good. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to support it. Any studies regarding congestion have been done with the route included in NIRPC’s 30 year plan (updated in December). That route has the Illiana going no further East than 65. Reduce trucks in Porter County? I don’t think so. It doesn’t make sense. Why would trucks pay tolls to go miles out of their way? They don’t pay tolls to take the Indiana toll road now—and it’s a shortcut to Chicago.

What about the economic impact for the entire region? I was under the impression we are paying taxes to support the RDA largely in order to ensure that the Gary/Chicago airport becomes the area’s third major airport. Funny, but the Illiana goes straight to Peotone. Smart idea for the Gary/Chicago airport? It sounds more like a castration of said airport. Further, the Illiana is to be a limited access expressway, not a road with the many interchanges necessary for substantial economic development.

This road will be privatized, just like the Indiana Toll Road. Is this what we want? More of our resources in the hands of foreign investors? Does anyone remember the hullabaloo concerning the transport of hazardous waste across the region a few years ago? If the road is managed by a foreign investor, will they care if hazardous materials are trucked through our county? No, not if the price is right. They are in this for PROFIT. And I haven’t even mentioned the use of eminent domain for the profit of a private entity…likely a foreign entity. In my book? Completely unacceptable.

Porter County is an ozone non-attainment area. We’ve even had to endure time-consuming emissions testing because of it. Does building a new road in hopes of attracting more trucks to the area sound like a good plan? No.

This issue is currently in the hands of the state legislature. The word downstate is that everyone up here wants this…except for a few farmers. If you don’t like what’s going on, please let your legislators know as soon as possible.

Laura Blaney

 

Posted 2/12/2007

 

 

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