Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner J. Bryan Nicol verbally confirmed again last week what his agency and state Democrats have implied through their actions the past 12 years: Democracy and responsible government have no place in Indiana or in the state's Democratic Party.
At least not in Frank O'Bannon's, Joe Kernan's and John Fernandez' Indiana or Democratic Party.
Nicol told the Associated Press that INDOT will make a final decision on I-69's route before the year's end but that public comment will have no real bearing on the decision.
"I think that's what people generally expect us to do, to look at all the data and make the best decision," Nicol said in an interview with the Associated Press.
That attitude comes as no surprise to the public, as INDOT officials admitted during last month's hearings that were not even keeping track of what citizens had to say. Nicol drove home that point again last week by telling the AP reporter, essentially, that the agency is only going through the motions of allowing public input and will waste no time reviewing it.
"We're moving on this," he said. "We're not going to set it down for six months or nine months or a year and think about it. … The era of people saying, 'Where is I-69 as a corridor going to be?' ends in December."
Nearly 2,000 citizens spoke at those three hearings, and countless others are taking valuable time away from their lives to write down their thoughts and send them to INDOT. But Nicol said the final route decision will be made roughly a month after the public comment period closes on Nov. 7.
He presumably added the following two comments with a straight face.
"What we believe we've done is a fair, objective study, a uniform comparison of each of the routes. We presented the facts out there, and now we're hearing what people think of our data."
"I think you get a pretty clear indication that some (routes) are preferred and nonpreferred for good reason. We're not saying we've rejected them outright, because we want to hear from the public on it."