[r85] Pond Report: Taking a close look at our roadways (8/25/2011)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Start Date: 8/25/2011 All Day
End Date: 8/25/2011
Several interim committees have been meeting every week to discuss issues that are affecting Hoosiers. One of the main topics of concern in our district and throughout the entire state of Indiana is our roadways. The Joint Study Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Assessment and Solutions met recently to discuss this particular issue and ways to improve upon the functionality of our roadways.

The committee works towards addressing issues, such as projecting Indiana's transportation demands through the year 2035 and establishing appropriate roles and responsibilities for the state, county, municipal governments and the private sector in meeting Indiana's projected transportation demands.

The committee heard from a number of business leaders as well as the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) about the growing challenges of Indiana's infrastructure demands and the need for a comprehensive, long-term plan.

As many know, Indiana is considered the Crossroads of America, and there is a reason we have acquired that name. According to INDOT, Indiana is the global center of transportation and logistics for the 21st century. Our transportation infrastructure provides companies with a competitive advantage in manufacturing and distribution.

Keeping our roadways up to date is important to our state's economic future. Many companies and businesses travel their goods through our state to reach their destinations, which is why it is crucial that our roads are in the best condition.

INDOT says they have more than 11,000 centerline miles of roads to cover in Indiana. They are responsible for state roads, interstates and U.S. routes including adjacent overpasses and ramps on these particular roadways. Maintaining this vast network of roadways can make it seem as if construction is always happening, but it is important to know that these renovations and developments are done with the betterment of our state's economy and infrastructure in mind.

There's a lot of construction underway on Indiana's highways due to Major Moves, the state's 10 year highway construction plan that puts Indiana on a better path than most states to finance our road construction projects.  If you come upon construction areas, please make sure to be cautious and slow down. According to the work zone statistics on the INDOT website, it takes just one minute more to travel through a two mile work zone at 45 mph rather than 65 mph.   Unfortunately, over the years we have experienced traffic fatalities involving our highway workers. It is important for all of us to be alert and slow down to protect ourselves and those we share the roadways with.

The great concern of lawmakers involving work zone areas is to protect our highway workers from injury and potential fatalities. This is why The Indiana Work Zone Safety Law was recently revised to set steeper penalties for driving infractions within highway work zones.

According to this law, first time citations for speeding in a work zone will result in a minimum fine of $300. The fine will increase to a minimum of $500 for a second offense and $1,000 for a third offense within three years. Motorists who drive recklessly or aggressively through work zone areas can face fines up to $5,000.

Transportation and road infrastructure is sure to be a topic that will continue to be examined throughout the remainder of the summer. It deserves adequate attention, and it is vital that the committee discuss and develop ways to keep our roadways moving efficiently. It is equally important that are roadways are safe for those traveling on them.

For a full list of the upcoming 2011 interim committees contact my legislative assistant, Tom Havens at 317-234-2993 or go visit http://www.in.gov/legislative/interim/