EDITORIAL: Invest in infrastructure, starting in NWI

2014-04-08T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Invest in infrastructure, starting in NWI nwitimes.com
April 08, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Steel executives were in Washington recently to push for additional spending on infrastructure. That's what the nation needs to give a strong boost to the economy.

At a March 25 House Steel Caucus hearing, steel industry leaders asked the federal government to enforce trade rules, reduce energy costs and invest in infrastructure.

More investment in infrastructure would, of course, help the steel industry. But it would also help the nation.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation's infrastructure a D+ on its latest report card and said the United States would need to spend an additional $200 billion a year just to get existing roads, bridges and rail lines up to par.

Meanwhile, competing nations are ramping up investments.

"I was just in Japan last week, and it is obvious that Japan has made infrastructure investment a top priority," testified ArcelorMittal USA President and CEO Mike Rippey.

Investing in infrastructure would be a boon to the economy.

It's not just about giving an idle hand a shovel to keep him busy, however. This is about putting in place the infrastructure that will ease commerce and improve the quality of life well into the future.

In Valparaiso recently, Gov. Mike Pence signed key legislation that will beef up road spending by up to $400 million. 

But the first round of projects contains nothing but crickets for Northwest Indiana.

It's going to places like Lafayette and the Indiana suburbs of Louisville, where extra lanes will be added on Interstate 65, and northeast of Indianapolis, where additional lanes will be added to Interstate 69.

Northwest Indiana is right to feel slighted. 

State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, sponsored that new law. He said a portion of the funding will eventually go toward adding a lane in both directions on Interstate 65 between Merrillville and Lowell as part of the Illiana Expressway project.

The governor who said Friday in Merrillville that the state's four corners must be reinforced should have spent money here first before spending even more in central Indiana.

We've been slighted too many times.

Northwest Indiana's rallying cry for more attention to infrastructure should become, "Remember the Cline Avenue Bridge!"

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