Friday, February 04, 2005

US 50 Collaborative Seeks Steering Committee Members

3 February 2005 - US 50 Collaborative Meets Again

The US 50 Collaborative met again Thurs Feb 3rd at the Tate St. Adult Center to identify and discuss the appropriate stakeholders for a steering committee for the Corridor Study.

Present at the meeting which was moderated by Travis Miller, DC Planning Director were:
Mike Davis (DC Transportation Director), Gerald Jacobson, Taxpayer, Donnie Hastings (Aurora Mayor), Steve Lampert (G-dale City Manager), Bryan Messmore (DC Administrator), Jim Ude (INDOT), Jane Ohlmansiek (DC Plan Commission and BZA member), Vera Benning (DC Commissioner President), Jeff Hughes (DC Commissioner), Bill Cunningham (L-bg Mayor), Tom Steidel (L-bg City Manager), Mike Rozow (Chamber of Commerce Director), Mario Todd (L-bg Council), Mark McCormack (DC Enforcement Officer and Planner), and Chris Mueller (Citizen).
[NOTE: Jim West (DCEDI Director) was not present- perhaps he should be included in this effort.]

The stakeholders to form a steering committee will be selected from the affected groups of property owners, business owners, major retailers, industrial park businesses, schools, elected officials, gambling riverboat owners, IVY Tech, EMS squads, Developers, Planning Depts. or Plan Commissions, etc.
[NOTE: Surveyors would be a good professional/technical group to add to this committee.]

Ude noted that the SR101 Corridor Study (in a rural area) had 12 stakeholders on their committee.

There was concern from several members present that this steering committee would become too large or perhaps not be taken seriously by INDOT and the Consultant. Several wanted to see a tighter time line.
INDOT stated that the study cost is now over $300,000, not the original $250,000. The scope of work is a “secret” until the papers are signed due to privacy issues.
[NOTE: If this contract was bid out- then the scope of services would be public because all the bidders would have had to bid from the same scope to have a level playing field. It seems that the consultant is telling INDOT what they need and then the costs are being determined from that- not INDOT directing the consultants. (SIECO/Strand – the same consultants for the so-called connector road from SR1-SR48 at Scenic)]
Several members concurred with Mario Todd’s assessment that the casinos would be our strongest allies in getting this project fast tracked. They have the added advantage of lobbyists and the money to push this through. Switzerland and Ohio Counties are considered economically depressed and so their riverboat revenues are critical to their well-being right now. If US50 access is hampered they will “lose” too.
This project is 80/20 federal/state funding. It is possible to not have to follow the federal game plan if federal money is not used according to Jim Ude from INDOT. That’s how the original US 50 upgrade got fast tracked.
Tom Steidel brought up the urgency of getting another bridge in Lawrenceburg across Tanners Creek. He favors the idea of putting one right next to the existing bridge, as it would only be the cost of a bridge and not the cost of an extra road too.
[NOTE: This seems short-sighted, when we really need another road as well, and if a bridge closed for some disaster near or on it- the one right by it would be affected possibly. It also creates another bottleneck. It’s important to note that extra lanes on non- expressway roads reach a critical point where safety actually decreases when you add too many. It also inhibits the accessibility of the businesses.]
Steidel thought an economic impact study that showed what would happen if US50 were closed down for a period of time would be helpful in convincing the feds to fast track our money. The bridge is still the main critical issue short term.
Ude noted that federal dollars come in a lump sum to the state and the state determines priorities.
Tanners Creek Bridge is scheduled for maintenance repairs and rehab in 2 years.
Rozow noted that there is no magic silver bullet for this problem; that the solution probably consists of several alternatives.
Signing is to be completed in March and hopefully have a kick off meeting in March/April with the consultant. Members want to be ready with the steering committee ASAP to keep things moving.
Travis Miller expects to have graphics etc. ready so the committee has visuals to work with.
A letter (signed by the collaborative) went to Governor Mitch Daniels and another is going to Rep. Mike Sodrel this week to get them up to speed on our needs on US 50.

Next meeting is Feb 23 at Adult Center at 3PM.

Lastly a review of the Key elements (determined at an earlier meeting)
that the collaborative wants addressed in the study:

1. Identification of the volume and destination of the traffic along US 50.
2. Production of DETAILED traffic counts of ALL the intersections along US 50 thru Dearborn County.
3. Identification of alternate route(s) for traffic crossing Tanners Creek.
4. Identification of the economic impacts of the corridor on our community and how to best utilize and protect this interest.
5, Consideration of the land use configuration along the corridor to identify highest and best use of land while allowing most efficient traffic flow.

Meeting adjourned at 4:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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