By Tim Maloney
There’s been a lot of talk about all the new highway miles being built by Indiana’s major moves program. Despite this record road spending (nearly $11 billion over 10 years), much of our transportation infrastructure still goes wanting. Take our state and local bridges for example—4,003 are considered “deficient” by the Federal Highway Administration. But major moves is not keeping up – the number of Indiana’s National Highway System bridges on the list has increased – from 396 in 2006 (when major moves began) to 469 in 2010. While Indiana spends $3 billion on new-terrain Interstate 69, bridges awaiting long-overdue replacement or repair such as the Cline Ave bridge in Lake County remain closed. In fact, the state has no plans to replace the Cline Ave. bridge.
Our public transit systems have been left behind. Even as demand for transit services grows –as demonstrated by continuing ridership increases–and rising gas costs put additional strains on the state’s 67 transit agencies, major moves has not contributed a single cent to support transit.
While our neighbors, like Illinois and Michigan, benefit from record federal investment in high speed passenger rail, Indiana struggles to find the matching dollars to take advantage of this perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity. Yet major moves provides no support to passenger rail.