I am a native of Greensburg, having left it for a military career and settling elsewhere.
I care for my native city and so I spoke at last week's public session on the airport expansion proposal. In that the Daily News' first report of it focused on former Mayor Gary Bailey's comments, I give him credit in that the proper questions were probably asked, given the knowledge-at-hand 11 years ago.
This is 11 years later. Public parameters have changed. The old questions are obsolete and I allege the reasons provided for airport expansion are ill-advised.
What rendered them obsolete? Another recent meeting began the process of laying groundwork for a high-speed public railway. At issue is whether those trains will stop for people to board, or whether people will watch them pass.
Nobody argues with a modern airport facility as an attractive piece of infrastructure, but who should benefit and why at that location? Review the video of former Mayor Bailey's address. He stated of airport expansion, "It will bring benefits today. It will benefit tomorrow Ñ your kids, my kids, the region. It's just not a city of Greensburg project. It will benefit everyone in the area."
I agree wholeheartedly with his aims, but the focus of the meeting should have been about developing a regional airport facility where all who will benefit, will also pay a share of monetary support. I allege by their doing, elected and appointed officials are positioning Greensburg's taxpayers to wrongfully bear a financial burden for others.
Mayor Bailey cited Bloomington economist Marcus Morton as saying words to the effect that if the city did not go on with airport expansion, then it would be a huge mistake and Greensburg would be the laughingstock of cities around the state. Yet, Bailey also stated, "There is nothing in the report ... the environmental study, to indicate that it shouldn't be anywhere but where it's at." If Bailey will cite economist Marcus Morton, then why is an environmental study the centerpiece upon which economic decisions are made? I allege these are poorly-advised decisions and wonder if Morton will advise the same in view of the coming high-speed rail.
For that matter, where is the economic study to indicate the prosperity an expanded airport will bring, and when was the public advised? My take is that the pro-expansion set amounted to a parade of people tossing loose wording in hope it would just fly over the head of most. At least one other made inference to the environmental assessment, as if that assessment would define economic success. Environmental and economic assessments are different matters.
Who might be expected to provide projected economic information? Greensburg Economic Development Corporation's executive director, Marc Coplon, spoke twice at the meeting. He spoke about airport expansion being welcomed in the Tennessee cities of Dayton, Athens, Smyrna and Jackson.
He didn't provide the hard-number economic projections of what airport expansion will do for Greensburg. His pitch inferred that success in Tennessee will equate to economic success here, if only Greensburg will follow the pattern. Still, he left nothing to define what ÒsuccessÓ means.
Coplon stated that he is willing to be corrected if he is wrong. I'll take him to task.
He cited how important it was for America's growth to build the railroad system. He cited that I-74 might have been located in Rush County had not so many of those citizens objected. Later he asked, "Should we sit back and watch the Shelbyville's and Columbus's of the world use federal and state money to expand their airports?"
We are 11 years beyond former Mayor Bailey's inception of an expanded airport, and I have to ask Mr. Coplon to ponder this: If railroads and interstate highways are important as you admit, and there is federal and state money available, then why not combine railways and roadways with the airways, by building a southeast Indiana transportation hub at a location which serves regional interests just as Mayor Bailey admitted even before you spoke?
That is the question which needs to be answered, along with an environmental assessment and an economic assessment, before undertaking airport expansion at its current location. Why? Because a combined regional transportation hub is an even more attractive piece of infrastructure, and more in tune with needs of the future.
What needs? Consider the location between metropolitan areas. There might be FEMA or SEMA interest. Consider that a National Guard or Reserve military aviation unit might be located on the backside of the runway.
And consider the Urban Training Center is but a few miles away. It is currently flying military personnel to Terre Haute and transporting them by bus across the state.
Jeff Martin, Whiteland, formerly of Greensburg
- Letters to the Editor
- Can we really love again? Can we really love again? Dear Editor: This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. Whether it's right or wrong, I can't get it out of my head. Could I fall in love again? My wife will always be my one true love, but this time it would
- Parks Department doing a great job Dear Editor: I'm writing a few lines to let people in Greensburg and Decatur County know what a wonderful person we have over our Parks and Recreation Department: Bob Barker. He has done so many wonderful things to make out parks better and more beau
- Kids should be kids, not criminals Dear Editor: The weather was lovely this weekend and our neighbors were all out to play. Well, except for some people from or outside of our neighborhood that broke in and vandalized several cars during the night. They stole change, pocket knives, ru
- letter to the editor A polite invitation to proper language usage Dear Editor: Am I the only person to notice that the splendid word "invitation" is rapidly disappearing from our English language? One now receives an "invite" to this or that function, but no longer an in
- We must move past grief Dear Editor: I would like to kind of bare my soul. When we have loved ones, friends and young ones who pass away before their time, we believe they are going to a better place, but the place they are leaving is in our hearts and minds. This is very
- Many country drivers speed, ignore stop signs Dear Editor: It was no April Fool's Joke when the front page of the Tues., April 1, Rushville Republican revealed the sad fact that yet another teen age driver had come to grief on a country road. Fortunately the young female driver was not seriously
- Many of my submitted questions remain unanswered Dear Editor: It is usually pointless to "respond to a response," but I feel compelled to do so in this instance. The critique of my letter "Why an assault rifle in the home?," by Mr. Ronald Hassler, is so poorly written as to be not worthy of note, b
- The crime is more important than the weapon Dear Editor: I felt it necessary to respond to Norm Voiles's letter regarding the accidental firearm killing of a Greensburg youth and the subsequent points raised by the writer. Mr. Voiles quickly turns his attention from the incident itself to the
- Good dancers float across the floor Good dancers float across the floor Here I am, drinking that cup of coffee again and remembering my wife Peggy. I loved to dance and when we danced, we blended together. My daughter and I have some of that, but Annie is a different generation. I reme
- Why an assault rifle in the home? Why an assault rifle in the home? Dear Editor: I was pleased to learn that the owner of the M4 assault rifle used in the recent accidental killing of a Greensburg youth has been charged with two felonies. Regardless of the outcome of this deeply dis
- More Letters to the Editor Headlines