A NOTE FROM OUR CEO
Bill Konyha | President & CEO
July 3, 2020
Independence Day is uniquely an American Holiday. Perhaps as we celebrate as the date that we declared our independence from a foreign sovereign and began down a path leading to becoming a unique democracy, this is a time to not only reflect upon the freedom won from this action but to acknowledge all those who have made the supreme sacrifice to preserve our freedom. This year it may well be past time to contemplate those who freedom left behind and to focus our efforts to strive to be 50 states united in our commitment to life, liberty, and equality for all.
We have worked very hard over the past few weeks to raise the amount of funds that we need to meet our commitment to retaining the services of David Long to help secure the state funding to pay the cost of the Environmental Impact Study (EIS). The EIS is required as a necessary first step to include the U.S. 30 transformation within the INDOT long-term plan. To date, it is not. In fact, INDOT plans to solve our U.S. 30 problems by adding a series of J-Turns. This is not what Northeast Indiana wants or needs.
We had hoped to complete the fundraising by July 3rd, a challenging performance goal but one in which we have come very close to achieving. As of July 1st, 2020, we have raised more than 91% of the goal and might have accomplished it had we taken a slightly different approach. Had we focused strictly upon businesses in or near the U.S. 30 corridor, we might already be done. However, the entire Region adopted this as our number one transportation issue, and we believed that we should raise funds from throughout the Region. This we have done. However, it has taken a little longer due to logistical issues. Nevertheless, I am proud of the way the Region has responded, and I look forward to wrapping this up quickly.
The Policy Committee will meet on July 10th, and we plan upon the four subcommittees meeting the following week. We will begin by reviewing six issues that have already been brought up by our members. Another few will be carried over, but we have very little faith currently that there will be very much new included in the upcoming budget debate. We may play defense on some issues, such as post-secondary education, and will doubtless include some budget additions if only to keep the discussion going. Remember, legislative success is a long game. Steven Townes, our Administrative Assistant, will reach out to last year’s participants in the Policy Committee to confirm our roster for 2021. As always, each of our members is encouraged to participate on the committee as we begin to develop our Legislative Agenda for the 2021 session of the Indiana General Assembly.
The board will not meet again until September as it generally takes a break from monthly meetings in July and August. We shall keep the board advised of all issues and any actions that we might ask the Executive Committee to take during the hiatus. At the very least, the Executive Committee will meet as necessary to conduct business on behalf of the board during the summer months. Any action taken by the Executive Committee will be considered and ratified by the entire board of directors.
We look forward to meeting with the Policy Committee and the subcommittees beginning on July 10th.