After joining cowardly compatriot State Representative Ed Clere in refusing to address tolling on Ohio River Bridges during the election cycle, State Senator Ron Grooms voted yesterday to give tolling authority to a five-member state panel, requiring no further legislative review or approval.
While campaigning, Grooms promised, “When the financial plan is complete and the tolls issue is presented with facts and information, I will offer my opinion. I will act in the best interest of the citizens of my district. I will not encourage a project that puts a hardship on our local citizens.”
So much for that. The financial plan isn’t complete, Grooms has no idea what hardships are headed his constituents’ way, and it’s apparently his opinion that they don’t deserve direct representation in the matter regardless of what they might be.
And as if that wasn’t enough damage for one day, Grooms also voted to limit collective bargaining for teachers and to base their pay on state mandated evaluations even though, again, the rubrics upon which those evaluations will be based are still in the developmental stage so that Grooms doesn’t actually know what he supported.
Indiana Senate approves Ohio River bridge tolling bill (Weidenbener in the C-J)
INDIANAPOLIS — The state could proceed with tolling for the Ohio River bridges and other projects without approval from the General Assembly under legislation passed Tuesday by the Indiana Senate.
Instead, the five-member State Budget Committee — which is currently controlled by Republicans — would have to review and approve any tolling deal.
Tolling “is the only way a project like the Ohio River bridges could be done,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne.
The bill passed 37-12, with Sen. Ron Grooms, R-Jeffersonville, voting yes and Sens. Jim Smith, R-Charlestown, and Richard Young, D-Milltown, voting no.
Senate Bill 473 temporarily waives a state law that requires legislative approval for the Indiana Department of Transportation to enter into public-private agreements for transportation projects and create toll-based projects. The waiver would last through 2015.
Clere will get his chance next, as the tolls bill and others move to the House.