|Source: IndyStar (2013).|
“I think over the next couple years or so after we get through the opening and initial shock of the tolls, that tolls are going to receive very little discussion in that the economic benefits that we will be seeing will become the focus of the discussion.”
— Uric Dufrene, IU Southeast Vice Chancellor and Oligarch Fellatrix
Good work by Beilman, who opts for the deft touch in depicting tolling’s impact on different income groups, and allows Dufrene’s salaried (above) detachment to reveal itself.
Southern Indiana residents brace for impact of upcoming tolls, by Elizabeth Beilman (Hanson’s Harley Folly) … Staff Reporter Danielle Grady contributed to this story
… Uric Dufrene, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and finance professor for Indiana University Southeast, said residents will need to make decisions about how to handle the cost of tolls based on their individual circumstances.
(The Clark Memorial Bridge … along with the Sherman Minton, will remain untolled. The Kennedy, Lincoln, and Lewis and Clark bridges will have tolls)
“There, I think consumers or individual households can balance the cost of the tolls versus the benefits of time and distance,” Dufrene said.
Here’s the inconvenient flip side, one you’ll seldom hear Dufrene (or Kerry Stemler) address.
… people living in low-income areas, defined by one-person households with less than $10,830 in annual income in 2010, will bear a disproportionately high effect of tolls.
Phil Ellis, executive director of Community Action of Southern Indiana, hears from the low-income residents served by the nonprofit organization that tolls will hit them hard. CASI provides assistance to people for costs like utilities, but they won’t be able to help with tolls since no federal program provides funding for this cost.
“They’re going to have to sacrifice something in order to pay that toll,” Ellis said. “That might be a decrease in groceries, that could be not being able to pay their full utility bills … Something’s going to be left unpaid, to be honest with you.”
Somewhere between $40 and $80 a month may not seem significant when weighed against the overall economic impact on the region in the years to come.
“But for the immediate need of individuals with low income, they’ll be the last to benefit from any type of economic boom or anything of that nature, because most of them don’t have the education or skills to be eligible or qualified to have one of those [new] jobs …
“You’re talking a person where $80 could feed them for a week, could feed their family for a week,” Ellis said. “That’s major.”