Democrats instantly announced their opposition to Gov. Daniels' plan to finance major unmet transportation needs with a $3.8 billion privatization plan for the Indiana Toll Road, offering in its place a credit card approach with all the negatives such an approach implies and none of the benefits the Governor's plan promises. Faced with the obvious disparity between their program and the Governor's, they demand a delay until some point in the future.
Gov. Daniels' appropriately responded to former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill's unfounded accusation that Daniels was blackmailing legislators into supporting his Major Moves program. "(Hill) comes from the empty promises crowd," Daniels said in response according to the Star. "Delay is so often a disguise for defeating something."
Further showing their constructive approach to the issue, House Republicans today announced several positive changes they would make to Major Moves to address the valid concerns of lawmakers from northern Indiana. Those include the following:
- Placing a 10-year freeze on tolls paid by local commuters.
- Creating a regional economic development authority for northeastern Indiana.
- Providing stronger legislative and public oversight over future highway leasing deals.
So how will the House Democrats respond to the Republicans' proposal? If the past is any indication, they will pick up their balls and go home--using the House's extraordinary majority requirement for a quorum to defeat legislative action by walking out.
The Democrats had their chance to make a difference at improving our poor transportation system. Instead, they delivered nothing but empty promises. It's time for them to give the Republicans a chance. If they care anything about the state's future, they will get out of its way.