Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Streetcars work in Portland, but viability here uncertainRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Chris O'Malley
If the introduction of modern streetcars to one West Coast city can be replicated here, Indianapolis would see new, higher-density housing and related retail and restaurants shadowing the line. Fallow areas crossed by the tracks would become fertile for new investment. At least that was the case in Portland, Ore., a city mesmerizing to Indianapolis civic leaders, who last month formed Downtown Indianapolis Streetcar Corp. They risk being run out of town on a rail: a streetcar line will cost...
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Changes down road for transportation planning group?: Metropolitan Planning Organization weighs mergerRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Chris O\'malley
The prospect of urban sprawl might swallow up even those agencies tasked with planning for sprawl's consequences. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization is exploring a merger with Anderson's MPO, according to the Indianapolis agency's 2008 Unified Planning Work Program report. "The rapid growth of the Northeast Corridor has blurred the boundaries between the Anderson and Indianapolis MPOs; a joint committee is currently exploring whether consolidation is warranted," states the report. MPOs are virtually invisible agencies to the public even though...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Readers respond to Indiana stampRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Morton Marcus
On Jan. 14, I wrote about the new Indiana stamp from the U.S. Postal Service. I objected to the selection of a farm tractor with a cityscape in the distance as being typical of Indiana and invited readers to comment. Below are a few typical remarks: From a reader in Tennessee who grew up in Kokomo: "As I read your column, I was torn between what you were saying and my warm fuzzy memories of my childhood. ... Indiana represents...
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Green group touts its mission in HQ project:Restricted Content

February 11, 2008
Scott Olson
The Fountain Square property that Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Inc. has purchased to house its headquarters is undergoing a massive renovation that will transform it from abandoned derelict to an environmental showpiece. In the process, the not-for-profit environmental group is hoping to set a green example for other developments and draw attention to its mission. KIB bought the building at the corner of Fletcher and Shelby streets for $410,000 in October from the Southeast Development Neighborhood Corp. A $1.3 million redevelopment...
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HIGHWAY to HEALTH: Trucking firm Celadon drives down costs with innovative wellness planRestricted Content

February 4, 2008
Scott Olson
Truck drivers are accustomed to logging lots of miles on their 18-wheelers, but on their sneakers? They are at locally based Celadon Group, thanks to its "Highway 2 Health" wellness program the trucking firm launched in 2006. Prodding employees to lead healthier lifestyles is a way to help cut escalating health care costs. It's a challenging task for any corporation, particularly for transporters whose workers are strewn throughout the country hauling freight on America's highways. Sitting behind a wheel for...
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Technology park could boost area's biomedical efforts: First phase of Purdue project, featuring accelerator building for up to 25 startups, should be finished this yearRestricted Content

February 4, 2008
Scott Olson
The park is expected to be a major amenity for the area's growing biomedical economic development efforts. Purdue Research Foundation paid $2.5 million in June to purchase a half-interest in 78 acres at AmeriPlex industrial park. The university ultimately anticipates filling it with as many as 75 businesses and 1,500 jobs. AmeriPlex owner Holladay Properties, a South Bend developer of industrial parks, owns the other half of the site. Dubbed Purdue Accelerator Park at AmeriPlex-Indianapolis, the project is intended to...
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Brightpoint aims to stay ahead of wireless pack: Phone distributor looks to focus on add-on devicesRestricted Content

February 4, 2008
Louis Jones
If Brightpoint Inc. wants to keep its place at the top of the cell phone distribution business, its leaders know they can't expect to rest on their laurels. That's why the Plainfield-based company hired mobile industry veteran Bashar Nejdawi to spearhead an effort to expand Brightpoint's so-called mobile enhancement business, selling add-ons that enhance a phone's functionality, such as hands-free devices, battery chargers, phone cases and software. The company already offers such accessories, but has not seen substantial success outside...
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Public offerings rise in '07: Three Indiana companies hit turbulence after IPOsRestricted Content

January 28, 2008
Scott Olson
The market for initial public offerings in Indiana was on the upswing last year, as the number of companies to go public tripled, from one in 2006 to three in 2007. Locally based HHGregg Inc., Kokomobased Haynes International Inc. and LaPorte-based LaPorte Bancorp. Inc. became publicly traded. The fact that three more companies in Indiana became public doesn't represent a trend. But four others that have filed IPO registration statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission bolster the belief that...
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City emerging as drug distribution hub: Medco Health Solutions deal latest boon to growing subsector in Indiana's life sciences development effortsRestricted Content

January 21, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Thanks to a series of major economic development wins, Indianapolis is enjoying a pharmaceutical distribution business hot streak. Life sciences industry leaders hope to keep the sizzle burning in 2008 and beyond. "It's not something we're hoping we can do someday. It's something we're already doing now," said BioCrossroads CEO David Johnson. "We're simply trying to expand the footprint of what we're doing." Pharmaceutical logistics has become a big business. According to the Arlington, Va.-based Healthcare Distribution Management Association, U.S....
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Lawmakers call for advocate to support airline passenger 'rights'Restricted Content

January 21, 2008
Chris O'Malley
Northwest Airlines flight 1829--stranded on a Detroit taxiway for seven hours with lavatories overflowing and the 198 souls aboard without food or water--has now landed at the Indiana General Assembly. Two Republican lawmakers have proposed creating an "airline consumer advocate" to resolve disputes on behalf of passengers who've endured poor service.
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Westfield hopes to draw business farther north: New development could reduce residential tax ratesRestricted Content

January 21, 2008
Michael Dabney
Back when they arrived in 1996, there were lots of open spaces and taxes were low, Jones said. "Overall, it was a good place to live," he said. Jones said he still loves living in Westfield, which is 20 miles north of Indianapolis. But he admits things are changing, which is a double-edged sword. Eight years ago, according to the U.S. census, Westfield had just 9,300 people. Now, it's a rapidly growing city with a population of 24,000, an increase...
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Community education keeping up with business: Lawrence Township, other districts making classes more convenientRestricted Content

January 14, 2008
Scott Olson
Thirteen years ago, long before the current commotion over escalating property taxes in Marion County, a local public school superintendent became embroiled in a similar uproar. Residents of Lawrence Township in 1994 challenged former district leader Bernard McKenzie to rein in what they perceived as excessive spending of taxpayer funds. He responded by creating the Lawrence Township Community Education Program as a testament to the citizens and their support. Today, it has grown to serve about 6,000 people annually and...
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250 retailers express interest in midfield terminal spaceRestricted Content

December 31, 2007
Chris O'Malley
Retailers and restaurateurs have flooded Indianapolis International Airport with letters-of-interest for space in the midfield terminal, which is scheduled to open in late 2008. The demand is "more than five times" the number of concession spaces available, airport managers say.
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VIEWPOINT: Why Anderson lured me from FloridaRestricted Content

December 31, 2007
Tim Kern
Baby boomers have five more years, 10, 15-then it's time to enjoy retirement. Except that we keep buying everm o r e - ex p e n s ive houses. What will happen when the paychecks stop? Facing this, I reassessed my situation in Florida. In two years, my taxes there tripled; insurance, doubled. An affordable mortgage didn't offset increases from the state and my friendly insurance company. To stay viable, I had to leave. Where to go? I figured...
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Celadon tries to reverse declineRestricted Content

December 24, 2007
Chris O'Malley
In just over one quarter, shares of Celadon Group lost nearly half their value as profitable cargo got harder to find in a slowing economy. The stock closed at $9.13 on Dec. 19, down from nearly $17 in late August.
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RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: The worst of this year's technology snafusRestricted Content

December 24, 2007
Tim Altom
Another year gone, and yet another Christmas gift for you. Every year, I collect examples of utterly horrendous technological snafus and write about them. No matter how awful your own meltdowns may have been, they can't have been as bad as these, so enter the new year with a light heart. The first example of disaster is fresh in the news still, at least in reports from the British Broadcasting Corp. The English government has lost disks with personal information...
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Logistics advocacy group Conexus gears up for statewide pitchRestricted Content

December 17, 2007
Chris O'Malley
Carol D'Amico, president and CEO of the newly formed industry advocacy group Conexus Indiana, is intent on boosting the visibility and growth of the logistics industry. Large though it is, it's also relatively ambiguous and sits in the shadow of the state's much-vaunted life sciences industry.
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: How globalization benefits Hoosier companiesRestricted Content

December 10, 2007
Mike Hicks
The debate on globalization most often focuses on imported goods. This is natural, for it is the sole source of pain associated with increasing international trade. The pain accrues to workers and investors in businesses that cannot compete internationally. Of course, the net impact is positive, in part because trade reallocates workers and capital to more productive activities. These more productive activities pay better and so are ultimately better for the economy-both here and abroad. One often-overlooked element of the...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Are unions really that important?Restricted Content

December 10, 2007
Morton Marcus
Uncle Uriah Marcus visited us on Thanksgiving. It took over a week to recover. He blames "the @#%$# unions" for most of our state's woes. Uncle Uriah asserts "them big unions scares businesses away from Indiannie." A sample of his views: High property taxes: It's the teachers' union's fault because teachers keep pushing up their earnings and reducing their responsibility. Congestion in cities: Bus workers' unions keep fares too high for anyone to ride the bus. The battle between the...
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High-speed rail still on slow track in state: Economic study, innovative financing exploredRestricted Content

November 26, 2007
Chris O\'malley
The effort to put high-speed trains into service in Indiana and eight other Midwestern states sometimes seems as fanciful as the first manned flight to Mars. There have been years of talk and countless meetings. And it will be many more years before a vehicle is fueled-and-ready, if ever. In the 13 years since the Indiana High Speed Rail Association was formed in Highland, the closest thing to high-speed rail Hoosiers have seen is an occasional speedy European locomotive brought...
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Feds eliminate quirky price-fixing rule for interstate moversRestricted Content

November 26, 2007
Chris O'Malley
Interstate moving companies have operated for decades under industrywide price fixing blessed by the federal government. But the system--one Tony Soprano and the boys in the back room of Bada Bing would love--will end Dec. 31, ushering in price cuts and other changes that could affect the cost of a move.
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VIEWPOINT: The high cost of traffic Band-AidsRestricted Content

November 19, 2007
Adam Thies
According to the article titled "Traffic Transformation?" in the Oct. 15 IBJ, the Indiana Department of Transportation is working on a roughly $600 million plan to relieve traffic congestion in the area of interstates 465 and 69. Hold on a second! What is really broken here? I contend little to nothing. Yes, roadways need maintenance and upkeep, but these roadways operate just fine. Because this area is congested at the morning and evening rush hour, the perception exists that these...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Existing work force is our biggest education challengeRestricted Content

November 19, 2007
Carol D\'amico
As Hoosiers, every time we open our wallets and pocketbooks, we should think about going back to school. For the last three decades, Indiana's per capita income growth has lagged the rest of the country, to the point where the average Hoosier earns less nized for work force development use a combination of state and local dollars and even lottery funds (as in Georgia). Private management of the Hoosier Lottery, as proposed during the last legislative session, could provide the...
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ATA parent shifts HQ to GeorgiaRestricted Content

November 5, 2007
Chris O'Malley
The writing has been on the wall that Indianapolis might lose the headquarters for ATA Airlines and/or parent Global Aero Logistics ever since April, when Global said it was buying Georgia-based World Air Holdings. Now, the writing is on paper: Indianapolis has lost another headquarters.
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: There's really nothing light about the topic of light railRestricted Content

November 5, 2007
Don Altemeyer
Twenty U.S. cities have some form of light rail systems in operation, and about 40 more are constructing or seriously considering light rail systems. While the list of cities with active systems isn't really all that surprising (you can see it online at w w w. a p t a . c o m ) , are other cities so busy building or extending them? Imagine a trolley system with regular stops within a city, but it has the ability...
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