Welcome to BadwaterJournal.com©                                                   INDEX PAGE for all articles

See the KIPDA website HERE


The federally constituted Board of the Kentucky Indiana transportation planning agency -KIPDA  held a regular meeting on June 28th 2012 in the KIPDA building off Blakenbaker Lane in east Louisville. The meeting was chaired by the Mayor of Shively, Sherry Conner, shown to the right with Larry Chaney, Director of Transportation Planning at KIPDA and sipping coffee, Barry Barker of TARC.

The composition of regional transportation planning agencies is authorized by Congress in United States Code, 23 U.S.C. § 134(d)(2). Intentionally, or in a complete lapse of judgement, Congress gave the authority for regional transportation planning to local elected officials, state transportation agency officials, and “appropriate state officials.”  See Reagan era

History of MPOs on Regional Trans page   HERE

Good lobbying money was spent to get this statute written this way and it plays out as a huge victory for the status quo of the one percent.  In an age of ‘corporations are people too’ putting elected officials in charge of regional planning without also authorizing effective oversight and checks on the result, means the local officials pander to the desires of local monied interests and help effectuate their commercial expansion.

Since the corporations have a major investment in continuing the unsustainable conspicuous consumption lifestyle of the 50s-- selling cars to drive to suburban Malls- the great ideas necessary to position Metro Louisville for the future are being drowned in short sighted sprawl.

Big corporate power and big political power are alloyed and controlling the regional planning  agency for both regional economic development and transportation planning. The resulting future looks like a paradise for big corporations, shippers, auto and appliance manufacturers and warehouse men, the major players in the local economy. These business interests elect the local officials with their major donations and political links into the power structure.

The problem is, the corporate mandarins are focused on the next quarter profits and their influence through elected local politicians is forcing KIPDA to plan for bridges and concrete driveways to the front door of the industrial park, instead of solving historic segregation and lack of connectivity in the west end of Louisville. The bottom line near term focus also means this critical public agency is not preparing the community for the coming crisis in global warming climate change and the emergency reductions in green house gases (GHG) that will be mandated.

The Board members lack the initiative to advance progressive transportation planning to address global warming, socio-economic injustice and a second economic recession or depression that looms ahead. The planning is mired in the polluting ideas of the past, building more concrete highways and bridges to serve single occupant vehicles burning ever more millions of gallons of hydrocarbons and emitting more and more GHG.

KIPDA’s regional planning authority is being used to make the future look like the past

Below, David Blank, takes advantage of his three minute opportunity to address the KIPDA Board and ask for 5% of bridge toll money be assigned to TARC. The citizen comment period occurs at the beginning of the meeting and is not part of the action items on the agenda. Groups looking to address the board in a more thoroughgoing manner need to call ahead and get time on the agenda and include a request for action. Proposals for KIPDA to do things differently would have be aware of the authorizing statutes and rules.

Local officials are generally not the best longterm regional transportation planners. Getting re-elected to office is their foremost concern, and it is a rare politician that will buck the priorities of the party to innovate new policy. Regional politicians tend to serve the business concerns of major donors and their influence groups.

Though KIPDA has a staff of college trained planners, their wings have been clipped by the politicians and their high technical capability harnessed to making the best job of repeating the 60s era transportation system. No one in the KIPDA technical staff can buck this system and stay employed.

Outside groups looking at the situation and hoping to have some impact cannot be successful against the deep pockets of the business establishment and its well cemented political system. KIPDA needs a Title VI committee that reports on the violence and poverty of the West End, the progress of the West End Working Group, and free wheeling ideas for correcting the economic disinvestment that has gone on too long. Such focused problem solving will have to result in funded projects for major connectivity improvements so that the millions spent arresting and jailing poor people can be freed up to expand employment opportunity and improve the community.

Its not surprising that the west end could fall through the cracks at KIPDA. This board has one African American sitting in a sea of white faces.

“The Louisville region needs a well thought out and coordinated transportation plan. Horizon 2030, our region’s long range transportation plan, is simply a listing of projects sponsored by individual agencies of the local and the state governments.” 

Partnership for a Green City Climate Action Report 

April 22, 2009