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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Dumb, dumb, dumb

You'd think there wouldn't be a single legislator stupid enough to accept this offer:

Only days after cash tolls nearly doubled on the Indiana Toll Road, the private company that manages the road had a money-saving offer for state lawmakers: a free ride.

Most legislators said no thanks.

In fact, a few said they threw out the free transponder that would allow them use the “i-Zoom” lanes without paying any tolls on the 157-mile highway across Northern Indiana.

[. . .]

Legislators, Pierce said, get many questions about the toll road, and often have to travel it while going about their duties. The hope, he said, is that lawmakers will use the electronic tolling system and tell constituents how much easier it is than having to hand change to a toll booth operator.

“We want them to be champions for us,” Pierce said.

Well, thank God it wasn't done for some crass reason like currying favor with the political class. Actually, Mitch Daniels is probably the one who will lose votes because of this dumb move. It will remind voters who might have forgotten that he pushed through giving control of the toll road  to those evil foreigners.

DING, DING, DING! We have us some winners:

Rep. Dick Dodge, R-Pleasant Lake, said he had not used the “i-Zoom” yet, but planned to. Asked if he had any qualms about taking a free ride while his constituents paid, he said: “I don't think so. No.”

It just isn't that big a deal, he said.

Rep. Chet Dobis, D-Merrillville, also said he planned to activate his device. Although he initially thought there would be a charge, he said he probably would still use it. But, he added, he seldom uses the toll road except to go to Illinois — and under the terms of the toll road's offer to legislators they still must pay normal tolls in other states.

Sen. Marvin Riegsecker, R-Goshen, said he had planned to use his transponder until a reporter asked what his constituents would think.

“Hmmm. Yeah, if you pose the question that way, I guess I'd have concerns,” Riegsecker said. He said he might reconsider.