RDA video part of push for state funding

2013-01-03T15:17:00Z 2013-01-04T07:58:03Z RDA video part of push for state fundingBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority is circulating a video touting its achievements as it seeks continuation of $10 million per year in state funding.

The eight-minute video, which highlights the cumulative economic impact of RDA projects, already has been distributed to members of the State Budget Committee and other state officials in Indianapolis, according to RDA President and CEO Bill Hanna.

"If you are not from Northwest Indiana, it's hard put context to what we have done. So this is what this tool does for us," Hanna said of the video.

A month ago, Hanna met with the budget committee, which is composed of members from both houses of the General Assembly as well as the state's budget director. Hanna told them continuing state funding beyond 2015 is critical to achieving RDA objectives.

The state share of RDA funding is paid by proceeds from the 2006 lease of the Indiana Toll Road. However, that money is set to run out at the end of 2015. The RDA also receives $3.5 million annually from Gary, Hammond, East Chicago, Lake County and Porter County.

The video, entitled "RDA Transformations," highlights the $1.1 billion in economic impact that will be produced by RDA projects by 2015, according to a study by consultant Policy Analytics. The RDA by that time will have invested $210 million in projects throughout the region.

That means for every $1 the RDA is putting into projects the region's economy is getting a $5.11 boost in output, according to the study.

Projects highlighted in the video include those already completed such as the Wolf Lake Pavilion and George Lake Pedestrian Bridge in Hammond. The Gary/Chicago International Airport expansion, not yet completed, also comes in for a good deal of attention. Some other projects highlighted are the ChicaGo Dash express bus, in Valparaiso, and the Portage Lakefront Park and Riverwalk at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

The video can be viewed on You Tube at http://youtu.be/sfXqGAUoauk. It had 21 views on You Tube as of Thursday morning. Hanna said disks have also been distributed to many local officials.

The video is a high-tech affair, featuring aerial zoom-ins of some of the RDA's major projects with plane, train and other animations. There also are pop-up graphs showing total investment and impact.

Hanna said it cost about $12,500 to produce and the RDA has about 200 copies for distribution on disks to complement its online distribution. Hanna said the cost was reduced by working with Purdue University Calumet students at the school's Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation.

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