If You Believe That, I Have a Bridge to Sell You…

Whoopie! Indiana has a surplus!

Of course, we also have a state where one out of five children live in poverty, and where evidence of our crumbling infrastructure has become too obvious to ignore.

The northbound lanes of I65 over a Tippecanoe County bridge has been closed for a second time, just days after an initial closure for “unusual movement.” After the most recent closure, Indiana’s Department of Transportation issued a statement to the effect that it is unable to project when it might reopen.

To say that motorists have been inconvenienced would be an enormous understatement. A friend says the trip from Indianapolis to Lafayette that used to take her 70 minutes recently took nearly three hours.

The American Society of Civil Engineers issues periodic reports on infrastructure in the states. Indiana’s 2010 “Report Card” gave the state an overall D+, and our bridges weren’t even the worst: the 1900+ “defective” bridges identified in the report earned us a C+. We scored far worse on drinking water (D+), wastewater (D-) and dams (D-).

This was five years ago, so the sorry and arguably dangerous condition of our infrastructure shouldn’t have come as a surprise to the Administration.

As I’ve noted in previous posts, I could run a substantial personal “surplus”if I never changed my furnace filters, fixed my roof, or repaired broken appliances.

You’ll excuse me if I don’t consider Indiana’s “surplus” evidence of prudent government.


  1. You fail to put a cost for all this neglect. If you add up the thousands who are delayed over 1 hour the cost of this stupidity is millions of dollars. The attempt to kick this down the road has resulted in a huge cost and we still have a broken bridge. NICE JOB PENCE!!

  2. Does the Indiana surplus report, plus all of the American Society of Civil Engineers investigative results, include an accounting for all sports venues (the full CIB budget) and an accounting from the Metropolitan Development Commission whose approval is needed locally to spend our tax dollars for any and all improvements?

    You cannot balance any budget without an accounting of ALL expenditures. I would bet my next Social Security check that the general condition of all sports venues state-wide would show them to be in good condition. The media reported careful examination of all rides on the Indiana State Fair midway prior to opening to the public. Why are our road, bridges – and all city streets – not regularly examined as carefully and honest reports submitted to the public. That I65 bridge has been top news for days; it should never have been allowed to reach the current level of hazardous condition if some of that “surplus” had been spent to investigate and maintain it’s condition. I won’t bore you with the pot hole and general condition of our streets as we have experienced, seen and read about this ad nauseum with no end in sight.

    If there is a budget surplus; it is OUR surplus and not the personal savings account of Pence and his cronies. The current Republican administration needs to return to the days of old when their oath of office was to serve their constituents, all residents of Indiana, had meaning above and beyond their party affiliations.

  3. It’s time to elect some representatives that are capable of governing instead of pandering to their financial support groups. Building and maintaining public infrastructure are the basic functions of a government. If only they could turn their collective attention to providing some real services instead of converting public education to education for profit, allowing a few religious zealots to make policy and undermining most of the social support programs and busting unions. Wait. I forgot I’m talking about Indiana.

  4. Isn’t Indiana air quality also one of the worst, if not THE worst? Our wonderful gov certainly thinks it is wise to sue the EPA for trying to improve air quality. Yes, he uses our tax dollars for frivolous lawsuits in an effort to protect his financial supporters.

    I would love to see this get national attention on the news. However, if they receive contact from me they will most likely just ignore it. What if we all contact the national news about this horrible situation? Anyone else interested?

  5. Let’s not forget the sad state of Indiana education. Communities with massive school buildings and olympic-sized pools graduate students who don’t know the difference between a state and a city, think Hawaii is a foreign country, and cannot make change at the burger house if they’ve managed to get a job. The few who appear on “The Brain Game” are inspiring but represent a small percent of students. If there is a surplus, let’s pay teachers a competitive wage and reduce size of classes.

  6. I65 is a major transportation artery from Chicago to Louisville, Nashville and points beyond. The closure is going to be felt throughout the eastern half of the country as trucks have to reroute. The costs in the delays of pick up and delivery of produce alone are probably incalculable.

    However, to be fair, that part of the state has had serious flooding all summer long. Bank erosion is a significant problem during high water events. The bridge and banks should have been inspected several times in the last few months due to the flooding. If there was evidence of erosion, the state should have taken steps before the collapse to address and repair it.

    My guess is that there are not enough inspectors to do the jobs due to budget cuts. The “surplus” is supposed to be a rainy day fund. How rainy does it have to get before we use it to keep essential services operating?

    This is yet another black eye for the state of Indiana.

  7. Along with civic ignorance is the phenomenon that folks don’t understand what a true mess this state is in because they don’t read. Well, this ought to help. Nothing like having to drive over twice as long to drive home the fact. Sort of a guided tour of the state’s messes. We need for a whole bunch of influential people to be inconvenienced so maybe they will get the message.

  8. The politicians have taken the “Duck and Cover” approach to this 1-65 Situation. The McMega-Media other than “Reporting” on the closure shows no interest in demanding explanations from the Governor, INDOT, and our Legislature. Why isn’t Bosma, David Long or Pence being grilled by the Media??? The economic effect must be huge. This has been a problem in the making for years.

    Per WIKI on the Federal Gas Tax – Since 1993, the U.S. federal gasoline tax has been 18.4¢/gal. The tax was last raised in 1993, and is not indexed to inflation. Now just imagine what would happen if Obama proposed raising the tax.

    Sadly, our Government was sinking and has sunk to having as it’s Prime Directive (With a Nod to Star Trek) the enrichment by what ever means possible of those in power or with power.

  9. This is funny. The libs spend all their time attacking roads, driving, cars and personal mobility, but they’re now complaining that we don’t take care of our roads?

    Can’t win around here.

  10. When they first built the additional lanes between I865 and US52, I noted they used the same construction method as a walmart parking lot (pack down dirt, add a layer of gravel and pack that down, put asphalt on top and call it done) and that it would be crumbling like one in short order. Looked great on the surface, but not so much after time and traffic took its toll.
    Speaking of tolls, coincidentally(?) this project was part of “major moves”.
    This project, the bank collapse under I65, and the “surplus” all have one thing in common. Two different governors with the same goal, a “well deserved” promotion to president achieved with a record of “fiscal responsibility “.
    Unfortunately we are now paying for the smoke and mirrors of 12 consecutive years of 10% reversions of an agency’s budget to achieve that “surplus”. Penny wise. Pound foolish.

  11. I have always thought of them as public servants.

    They apparently think of us as rubes. Sources of income which they can funnel to the powerful in exchange for some of their power.

    Of course we aren’t complete suckers. In exchange we demand the opium of the masses. Entertainment.

    So we’re selling our souls for a laugh here, a cheer there, a song and dance, pre-digested opinions that require no thinking, no education on our part.

    And America is crumbling.

    The Dream is becoming a nightmare. Democracy and freedom have become shams.

    The Republican debate was not at all a debate. The nearest thing to it that I have seen is the Westminster Dog Show. Strange beasts outfitted to look more strange paraded in front of those without enough to do with their time and money. Entertainment.

    And America is crumbling.

    Of course when rising seas and tornadic winds and wild fires and epic droughts kick us out of what we assumed were promised lands we’ll still have entertainment.

    When the spawn of the NRA erupt into the violence that they’ve been promised we’ll still have escape into mindless soulless purposeless entertainment.

    When poor go to the barricades we’ll round them up and teach them a lesson about powerlessness. Maybe we can do the Hunger Game thing so that they can entertain us.

    And America is crumbling.

    Even in the light of great fortune from stumbling onto the greatest President ever, at least until the wishes of the voters of 1951 remove him from office, we find in favor of entertainment. Crucify him.

    Like most things crumbling it happens a piece at a time. A little here a little there until there’s nothing left to fix. What was once vital becomes a relic. An interesting sidelight in history.

    Who to blame? The everpresent forces of evil or the forces of good glued to screens big and small being entertained?

    History will judge.

  12. “The libs spend all their time attacking roads, driving, cars and personal mobility”

    I missed that. All I hear is liberals insisting on sustainability rather than kick the environmental can down the road to the grandchildren. We pay our bills and they pay theirs.

    Decidedly not the conservative “screw’em” mindset.

  13. Gee – weren’t all our ‘investments’ in property tax caps, sports arenas, cutting governmental red tape for business permits, multiple corporate tax breaks, shifting business taxes to individuals, right to work, and economic development grants of all sorts supposed to generate jobs galore and enough taxes to pay for everything?

  14. Having just witnessed the nightmare on I 65 N, I can say we are not impressing our out of state guests. The closure is poorly marked until you are on it. Then the reroute is even more poorly marked. I had someone pull a mulligan, throw it in reverse, as he was so confused. I am betting there will be a major accident on 52 before too much longer. Way to gov. Dense!

  15. I suppose the only ray of sunshine in this story is that the bridge didn’t proceed to collapse with cars, trucks, etc. going over at the time, resulting in mass casualties. You have to ask yourself how things got to this pathetic state and why public safety isn’t a priority.

  16. Thanks MJane, I guess Governor Dense will need to rehire that Marketing firm to tell us all what a wonderful state Indiana is. Perhaps this why Amazon wants to use drones to deliver products, they analyzed our infrastructure and realized ground delivery may not be viable in the future.

    I have driven I-65 many times and I cannot imagine the effect this must be having on product delivery. Maybe Governor Dense could have some port-a-potties set up the detour route. Could be a win-win for Governor Dense if he selects a vendor to provide the port-a-potties and then he receives a campaign donation from them.

  17. It’s true that maintenance can bring down costs in the long run, but still it’s refreshing to have a surplus because the government is spending less than it takes in for once! If we continue to have surpluses like this, though, either taxes need to go down or the surplus should be put toward infrastructure needs.

  18. Not doing what’s needed when its needed almost always makes it more expensive when its done. There is no surplus. There’s a deficit in terms of what’s needed versus what’s done.

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