Read about the Bridges Authority’s scheduled public input meetings today and tomorrow
The Sherman Minton Bridge was closed on September 9. Since that time, Horseshoe Southern Indiana has recorded significant drops in patronage and revenues, so much so that the casino’s Horseshoe Foundation recently announced a huge cash reward to the contractor for early completion of bridge repair work.
Which is to say: A variable (in this case, traffic delays owing to the bridge closure) is providing the Kentucky market with an excuse not to come to Southern Indiana, and because this variable hurts the bottom line at Horseshoe Southern Indiana, it must be eliminated.
Here, in a nutshell, is welcomed corroborating evidence offered by a bigger area business to illustrate what we’ve been saying all along: As a variable, tolls to finance the ORBP boondoggle would have a negative impact on small businesses in Southern Indiana, because tolls would be discretionary for Kentuckians. Meanwhile, working Hoosiers would pay the equivalent of a tax to reach their jobs in Kentucky.
Again and again, we’ve asked the Bridges Authority to prove us wrong. We’ve asked the Authority to conduct a study of the economic impact of tolling on small businesses in Southern Indiana, but a coherent reply has never once come from them, apart from a vague assurance that once tolling has been approved as part of the latest inviolable plan, the body would look into it in its spare time.
In refusing to take such questions seriously, the Bridges Authority is flaunting its fundamental arrogance, but far worse, it is doing an apparently intentional disservice to Southern Indiana. Revealingly, the Horseshoe Foundation’s early-completion offer, as voiced by its head, Jerry Finn, is a tacit admission of what the Authority continues to publicly deny.
Deliciously, Finn is now in the splayed position of publicly advancing a de facto case against tolling while wearing his day-job cap at Horseshoe Foundation, while continuing to mouth the flawed reasons in favor of tolling when performing his role as Bridges Authority member. As Abraham Lincoln might have observed, an argument divided against itself cannot stand. In fact, it has not stood. The only question is whether Finn himself as yet grasps the untenable conceptual space he currently occupies. In my view, he has a choice to make. Will he?
Back on November 18, 2010, my newspaper column was titled, “The Bridges Authority has no clothes.” If there’s such a thing as being more naked than naked, that’s where the collective entity finds itself now … one member more than the rest. You can reread the column here.