Spending on rail upgrades spurs growth
A federal grant for northwest Indiana is billed as a big advance for high-speed rail, but the more important purpose is to nibble away at the nations worst freight logjam.
The Chicago area is the nations hub for rail freight, with 500 freight trains a day passing through the Windy City – many of them on tracks shared with 700 passenger trains.
The result is that many freight haulers can get goods to the Chicago area quickly – but getting them through the city is another story.
In Indiana, 87 freight and 14 Amtrak trains travel through the town of Porter, north of Valparaiso, each day – creating what the Department of Transportation considers one of the most congested rail junctions in the United States.
So the federal government will spend $71 million to move tracks, build crossovers, upgrade signals and create a siding in Porter for Norfolk Southerns Chicago Line and Amtraks Michigan Line.
The improvements would also result in upgraded track that could handle a Chicago-Detroit high-speed rail if those plans reach fruition.
Justice delayed no longer
Just one problem with the announcement of Tippecanoe County Judge Loretta Rushs appointment to the Indiana Supreme Court Friday: It took too long. Her impressive professional record, her stellar reputation in the legal community and – most important – the perspective she will bring should have made it a much easier call.
Since Justice Myra Selby stepped down in 1999, no woman has been appointed to Indianas highest court. The state is one of just three without female representation on its highest court.
Rush is Gov. Mitch Daniels third appointment to the court. He passed up well-qualified female candidates in his two previous appointments.
The top appointments at agencies across the administration demonstrate the same lack of diversity, unfortunately.
Britain clears record on riot
If its true that Its never too late to say Im sorry, it can also be said that its never too late to set the record straight.
British Prime Minister David Cameron did both this week, apologizing to victims of a 1989 soccer stadium disaster and confessing that authorities covered up what really happened.
After 96 people were crushed to death at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield on April 15, 1989, British police were quick to blame the victims, suggesting drunken and rambunctious Liverpool fans caused the deaths. But Cameron said police altered witness statements and the autopsies showed that alcohol consumption was normal for a social event. They also showed that 41 of the 96 victims died from causes other than traumatic asphyxia – being unable to breathe after suffering a physical blow.
Perhaps the most disturbing of Camerons revelations was that some of the victims declared dead soon after the incident might have lived had they been taken directly to hospitals for treatment.
After Camerons stunning apology, the editor of The Sun newspaper also apologized for an article the newspaper published days after the Hillsborough disaster that piled on against the Liverpool fans.
It took 23 years, but Cameron is commended for setting the record straight.
Attorney drawing appeals court’s attention
Two years after leaving office, Marion Countys former prosecutor is still making news – but not in the way he would probably like.
Last week, the Indiana Court of Appeals cleared the way for former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White to seek post-conviction relief – a form of appeal – on voter fraud-related convictions.
White is arguing that his attorney was incompetent during his trial. Among the problems: His attorney presented no defense case.
Yes, former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.
Then this week, the Court of Appeals ruled that a blood sample taken from an Indianapolis police officer following a fatal accident was legally obtained and admissible in court. The officers case is a major story in Indianapolis because he is accused of driving under the influence when the fatal wreck occurred and because Brizzi – the prosecutor at the time – dropped charges, saying the evidence was inadmissible. Brizzis successor refiled the charges and won the appeal this week.
The test recorded the officers blood alcohol content at 0.19, more than twice the legal limit.