The House tonight passed Gov. Mitch Daniels' historic Major Moves initiative contained in HB 1008 by a vote of 51-48 with only one Republican, Rep. David Wolkins (D) voting against the proposal to privatize the Indiana Toll Road. The bill has already been assured of easy passage in the Republican-controlled Senate.
In a last ditch effort to throw water on the idea, House Democrats sunk to new lows. Rep. Craig Fry (D-Mishawaka) lived up to his reputation. He tried to raise fears by pointing out that nuclear waste and materials are transported across country via the Indiana Toll Road, and now we're going to let it be "controlled by a bunch of foreigners." The "foreigners" in this case happen to be investors from two strong American allies, Australia and Spain. This xenophobic comment comment comes just a day after Japanese-based Toyota announced it was adding more than a 1,000 new jobs at its assembly plant in Lafayatte and just days after another foreign company announced it would build a bio-diesel plant in Kosciusko County, which will make Indiana the leading bio-diesel producing state in the country.
Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington), who was unwilling to come to the table and play with the Republicans, complained that the deal will make the new I-69 highway a toll road for the folks in his district, while the folks to the north in Martinsville will get a free ride on I-69 to Indianapolis. Pierce said, "It's undemocratic." Sorry, Rep. Pierce, it's called politics. You see, Martinsville's legislators, Rep. Ralph Foley (R) and Sen. Richard Bray (R) took a seat at the table and played the game. They got the best deal for their constituents. You decided to walk away from the table and do everything you could to shut the game down. You took a gamble with your constituents' interests, and you and your constituents both lost because you made a bad gamble. That's how representative government works.
Rep. Randy Borror (R-Ft. Wayne), the bill's chief sponsor, got it right. We need to let the folks in California and New York know that there is something in between, and that something is Indiana. The people of Indiana will benefit for many years to come because a majority in this legislature rose above the demagoguery of the nay sayers and did what was right in passing Major Moves, even when it was not a politically popular decision to make.
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