Shane Gibson: “Tolls are not good for the majority of citizens or businesses in Floyd County and New Albany.”

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If you’re just tuning in, Shane Gibson is the New Albany city attorney, and the Democratic candidate for the Indiana House of Representatives District 72 seat in the approaching fall election. The Republican incumbent is Ed Clere, who toppled political veteran Bill Cochran two years ago.

In today’s Tribune guest column, Gibson begins by somewhat awkwardly touting the building of an Education and Technology Building at Indiana University Southeast, basing his advocacy exclusively on the grounds of short-term construction jobs and their benefit to the local economy, while not commenting at all on the intrinsic long-term benefits of the structure within the context of the university’s mission.

Presumably, IUS stands to be strengthened by the classrooms to be housed within the building, and the instruction to be enabled by it, but we read none of this. Obviously, building a new Education and Technology Building at IUS will put people to work – for a while, at least – but how will having the building assist the university’s future educational mission? How will having such a building help us down the road, by adding value to the university, and by creating jobs that are not temporary?

The problem with Gibson arguing the desirability of jobs created by a construction project without consideration of merits of the project itself is that there’ll be people, among them far too many building and construction “leaders” standing to profit mightily from the largesse, making the very same claim about the Ohio River Bridges Project.

(How these “leaders” politically manipulate institutions such as One Southern Indiana in pursuit of future largesse is another topic for another day).

Gibson concludes his column with the first tangible indication that maybe, just maybe, the somnolent local Democratic establishment finally has noticed the low hanging fruit of an emerging campaign issue: No Tolls.

I will reiterate that while tolls stand to be devastating to Southern Indiana small business, “no tolls” as political phraseology means less than nothing if it does not bring the listener into the tent for a broader discussion of the inexcusably massive boondoggle of the ORBP, a chat which must include straight talk about innovative 21st-century mass transportation solutions, not the planned obsolescence of 20th-century initiatives to reinforce automotive-fueled sprawl, ones that possess all the vision and deftness of Stalinist dam-building projects, even if they generate lucrative pork for the members of 1SI’s non-transparent public policy committee.

GIBSON: Time to get to work on a new IUS facility

… Only when people don’t get what they want do they say it is “all or nothing.” Why is that the case? In the end, tolls are not good for the majority of citizens or businesses in Floyd County and New Albany.

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