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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Comments

Hoosier Joe

This guy sure is impressive. Imagine that, a politician willing to make tough, unpopular choices just because it is the right thing to do for the state.

Zach

Yes, that was certainly my impression. He's really taking a new approach to running the state. It's not even that his choices are necessarily all that unpopular (some of them are, obviously). It's just that I don't think Indiana residents are used to such a take-charge governor.

Am I right?

djsdad

Regarding the Toll Road controversy; inaccurate, contradictory first sentences like the one in your article fueled the controversy. "Daniels said his biggest surprise so far has been the controversy that erupted over his sale of the Indiana Toll Road. Under a deal worked out earlier this year, the 157-mile toll road was leased"…. It was NOT a sale; it was a long term lease!

Zach

Djsdad is right: It was a 75-year lease, not an outright sale.

Smart Hoosier

It's funny that he can't figure out why people hated the lease. It's because he had to lie to get it passed. If you look at the financial statements for the Toll Road, you will see that it has made a profit every year, it isn't losing money like Mitch said. He had to invent his own accounting terms to make it seem like it was losing money, and the people aren't as dumb as Mitch would like them to be.

His poll numbers are a joke and he is an embarassment to the people of Indiana.

Zach

You're definitely right that Daniels' poll numbers aren't great, Smart Hoosier.

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060915/NEWS02/60915004

Here's my question, though: If the toll road was a money-making endeavor, what's the reasoning behind selling it off?

Smart Hoosier

That's a good question Zach, one that hasn't been answered. During the legislative session, Mitch was constantly asked by the Legislature to show his numbers - meaning studies or anything that had been done on the lease proposal to show that it really was a good idea. He never did, because he couldn't. He never hired anyone to study the proposal, and of course I think we would find that it was a horrible deal if they actually took the time to study it.

Mitch is against government at all costs. The state could have easily made much more money by keeping control of the road, but he refused to even see it that way, he was just distracted by 3.8 Billion hanging in front of him. Doubling the tolls on the road (which was to happen either way, leased or not) would result in an extra $90 million in income per year, without any additional expenses. So, instead of the State taking that extra $90 million a year, Mitch leased off the road for $52 million a year.

So, instead of the state making all of that money, SMP is now bringing in the dough. And that's why the people of the state are mad, this was a badly thought out plan, and it was rushed through the General Assembly. It's also important to note that the people of Indiana (most noteably Northern Indiana) have paid tolls on this road for over 50 years, and by now they have a huge sense of ownership over this road. Now, instead of the Governor putting the elbow grease into making more of a profit (and it wouldn't take that much work) he just cut it loose and sold out the citizens of Indiana.

It was interesting to read your interview with Mitch and see what he thought about how good of a job he was doing, but his view and the view of Hoosiers are two entirely different things. I wish he were up for re-election this year, he would be packing his bags.

Just the facts

The facts are simple:

Go to the following website and click on "Toll Road Financial Analysis" performed by Crowe Chizek (http://www.in.gov/ifa/tollroad.html/).

Also read a February 2nd article in the Gary Post Tribune (by Tim Zorn), where 2 finance professors agreed this was a good deal for the state.

The State of Indiana is lucky to have gotten a single dollar for the toll road. Today and tomorrow, every toll road county is receiving checks ranging from $15 million to $40 million. What a horrible deal!

Smart Hoosier

You're right, it is simple, that Crowe Chizek analysis also showed profit for the Toll Road, in the range of 11 to 18 Million a year, not too bad!

What you fail to mention is this: The Crowe Chizek report wasn't a report on the Toll Road lease, it was a report on the current state of the Toll Road, they didn't analysis the results of the lease agreement between the State and SMP. No analysis was done to determine if that was a good deal. But the report does show that the road was profitable, so I am not sure what point the previous poster was attempting to make. Mitch didn't take a money losing asset and turn it around for profit, he took a money making asset and turned it around for less profit. Glad he's no longer running any private sector businesses, I am not sure his stockholders could afford his "management" style.

The State could bring in $100 Million a year, or we can get $53 million a year from SMP, that's a no-brainer!

Ditch Mitch

MItch Daniels may be one of the most deceitful politicians to ever exist. This toll road deal was passed with lightening speed and little scrutiny. How is is possible that a company would be willing to to part with $3.8 billion for a road unless they stood to gain it back and then some hefty profit. What Daniels has really done is privatise the raising of tolls and giving the company the greater benefit of the bargain. The guy fundamentally does not believe that government can solve problems only the private sector. He is a cancer to government and an enemy of it. Never forget what he did when he was asked to provid funding for shoring up the levees in New Orleans. He got the guy fired for trying to go around him to get the funding. He is a nightmare.

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