The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority planted seed money in the Regional Bus Authority, but regional transportation withered for lack of support by the Lake County Council and others.
This is a testament to the dysfunction created by balkanization at the expense of not just regional unity, but also the citizens who expect basic government services but fail to receive them.
There must still be hope for the future, however. The impending demise of the RBA is not the death of the goal of creating a regional public transportation system.
Yet now, as the RBA is dying, mourners are already lining up for the reading of the will -- hoping for a final bequest from the RBA's estate.
When the RBA board of directors meets for what could be the final time this month, they will consider a recommendation from its operations committee that $579,881 be split between seven area transit providers for new buses and other project.
That's not the regional transportation system for which the RDA provided the funding.
The RDA would like to see that money return to the RDA to advance the regionalization of Northwest Indiana's transit systems, RDA President and CEO Bill Hanna said.
"Our intent is to make sure those funds are used for regional transportation initiatives," Hanna said.
That's as it should be. Money donated to an organization -- in this case the RBA -- should be spent according to the donor's wishes.
The RDA invested millions of dollars into the RBA's efforts to consolidate and improve bus service in the region. The RBA also received federal, state and municipal funds, along with fares from the now-defunct easygo system.
Among the criticisms of the RBA is service providers had representatives on the board. Those board members must not vote to divide the remaining money among themselves.
Give it back to the RDA, to hold in trust for the opportunity, someday, to spend it on the intended purpose of bringing about a consolidated, regional bus service.
Save that remaining seed money for the next fertile field.