These days, partisan divisions are so acute that we sometimes forget the stark differences that can also characterize members of the same political party. For example, I worked in the Hudnut Administration, and I often noted the dramatic differences between Republican Bill Hudnut’s approach to governance and that of his equally Republican successor, Steve Goldsmith.
I used to say that if a survey were to disclose that most citizens didn’t see any use for city planners, Hudnut would go out into the community and explain why planning was important; Goldsmith would say “Oh good. Let’s fire the planners.”
Goldsmith’s approach certainly allowed him to brag about “streamlining” local government. One of his many “reforms” was to get rid of the city’s lab, which–among other things– tested samples of the concrete and asphalt intended to be used by city contractors, to ensure it met specifications.
Evidently, we no longer have a state lab either...
The state’s infrastructure received a D+ rating by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Most recently, I-65 and State Road 156 have served as examples of Indiana’s crumbling roads and bridges, but Indiana’s infrastructure problems go far beyond those failures–we have over 1,900 structurally deficient bridges, and a new report reveals the Indiana Department of Transportation approved asphalt ingredients that will significantly shorten the useful life of the roads on which they’re used.
The likely cost to Hoosier taxpayers is in the millions of dollars.
“In a cycle that should have two pavings, you have three pavings. That’s a lot of extra,” said Jason Heile, president of the Indiana Association of County Engineers and Supervisors.
INDOT is now testing the materials used, in order to determine whether they met the contract specifications–but this testing is after the fact. Had the testing occurred prior to the use of the asphalt in repaving, these huge costs could have been avoided.
We saved pennies by failing to test materials in advance. We’ll spend lots of pounds as a result.
It would really be nice to have elected officials who were more interested in actually governing than in grandstanding about how much money they are “saving” us.