Pharos-Tribune

Columns

October 28, 2013

KITCHELL: Hoosier Heartland: The last of bipartisan projects?

(Continued)

Jontz lost to Rep. Steve Buyer in 1992, but Buyer was able to bring Rep. Bud Shuster of Pennsylvania to Indiana, and changes were made to the federal gas tax formula that ended Indiana’s status as a donor state to the federal transportation kitty.

By 1996, the $2 million Jontz secured for bridges over the Wabash that are today named for Porter and Tanner were the only portions of the highway built from Peru to Lafayette. That led local residents to join forces with Peru and other communities to sponsor “The Bridge Party.” More than 20 state legislators, a congressmen, then Lt. Gov. Frank O’Bannon and Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith, the GOP nominee for governor, all visited the bridges on Flag Day, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the National Highway System. Both O’Bannon and Goldsmith committed to moving Logansport-to-Lafayette forward if they were elected. When O’Bannon won, his Crossroads 2000 Program provided pivotal funding to begin the work. After O’Bannon’s death and the election of Mitch Daniels as governor, his Major Moves Program generated enough capital through the leasing of the Indiana Toll Road to build the highway. In fact, after a call to move up the deadline to build the highway, Daniels and his Indiana Department of Transportation team responded to make it happen. Former Rep. Chris Chocola also secured funding for the Burlington interchange in Logansport.

It has taken officials from both parties — working together — most of 30 years to build this highway. It’s a testament to what can happen when communities and counties work together, when state and local government work together, when state government and the federal government work together, and when we all hold everyone accountable for their actions.

State Sen. Tom Weatherwax, along with Porter and Tanner, have something on the corridor named for them. But there are plenty of others to thank, from the late Jim Weaver who served as president of the corridor assoociation to Larry Muffett, who was instrumental in pulling off the Bridge Party along with Tom Slusser, Dick Dilling and the late Al Van Wormer who fed everyone who attended, and left the party in an ambulance. It was Jontz who turned heads when he secured funding for bridges built in the wilderness with no roads attached, and there were mayors from Lafayette’s Jim Riehle and Dave Heath to Logansport’s John Davis, Dick Hettinger, Bill Vernon and Mike Fincher, who crossed party lines to endorse Daniels’ approach to funding highways. Davis also worked on the project along with State Reps. Bob Sabatini, Rich McClain, Bill Friend, Claire Leuck and Sheila Klinker, as well as the late State Sen. Harold “Potch” Wheeler of Wabash. Not the least of the supporters was former Indiana University economist Morton Marcus who spoke at the initial Heartland meeting in Peru on a cold Saturday morning more than 25 years ago. He was a pit bull on this issue, and he never let go of this bone.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • HAMILTON: Why incumbents keep getting reelected It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its approval rating. In June, a Gallup poll found members’ standing with the American people at a historic low for a mid

    July 24, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: Four-legged family I have three pets. First, Paisley, a long-haired cream and tortoise Ragdoll cat. She’s the aristocracy in our group, compared to the rest of us, who are all blue collar folks. Her movements are slow and stately and her mien is gracious. She is by far

    July 24, 2014

  • Holly Sklar SKLAR: Small businesses want minimum wage increase If Congress actually listened to small business owners, the minimum wage would be going up. Instead, July 24 will mark five years without an increase since the federal minimum wage was set at $7.25 an hour in 2009.Small business livelihoods depend on

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • KITCHELL: Reaction times change, but motorists don't Earlier this year, I came home one afternoon to find the worst accident on North Street I can ever recall.A bevy of police cars and four flatbed trucks were removing the pawns in an accident that damaged four vehicles. It was a bit unusual considerin

    July 23, 2014

  • MARCUS: Tax simplification is no simple matter The governor and his select invitees to his closed tax conference last month praised simplifying Indiana’s tax code. It is an idea better loved by Americans than baseball, apple, pie or motherhood.There is no question that our national and state tax

    July 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: The sheer dumbness of an enormous dome There is a TV series about an entire town trapped under a giant, mysterious crystal-clear dome that appears out of the blue one day. The dome is impenetrable; no one can get in, no one can get out. Who made the dome? Aliens? God? A super-secret branc

    July 22, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Road to funding Indiana highways jammed If you’ve driven on either of Indiana’s two busiest interstates recently, you’ll understand why a blue-ribbon commission last week called for adding traffic lanes to those harrowing highways.The report, issued by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on T

    July 21, 2014

  • LYONS: When academic committees play 'police' If one believes even a significant fraction of the horror stories in the national news media, beastly male behavior has become almost epidemic on American college campuses. Tales of drunken sexual assaults and worse multiply from sea to shining sea.E

    July 21, 2014

  • CEPEDA: Hispanic women flock to the movies My family attended the first morning screening of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which won last weekend’s box office with a $73 million debut.According to Lucas Shaw’s recent article “Hispanic Women Are This Summer’s Most Avid Moviegoers” on the e

    July 20, 2014

  • thelma CONRAD: A true Lincoln original The Cass County Historical Society has had in its possession for many decades several documents containing the signature of President Abraham Lincoln. The society never doubted the authenticity of the signature, given the fact that most of the first

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.