To: "Harmon John -- letter to the editor"
Subject: Favor Central Time
I still favor the DOT putting all of Indiana into a single time zone. Central still appears to be the best choice to me.
Eastern proponents prefer to have the latest sunset (nominally 7:32 pm) extended 103 minutes later than Local Mean Time (LMT) to 9:15 pm and prefer to have the earliest sunset in December no earlier than 5:20 pm. They value these later sunset times enough to tolerate having the sunrise extended to as late as 8:15 am just before we go back to standard time for the winter in early November (starting 2007).
On the other hand, most Central proponents value either an earlier winter morning sunrise, a not quite so late summer sunset, or both, and therefore prefer a more modest 43-minute extension of the latest sunset (compared to LMT) from 7:32 pm to 8:15pm (as we have had with year-round EST / CDT since the 1960's). To achieve this, they are willing to tolerate sunsets as early as 4:20 pm in December.
There is not really a right or wrong side. It primarily comes down to individual preference and would perhaps best be decided by some sort of statewide referendum.
I see the major benefit of Daylight Saving Time (DST) to Indiana commerce as not primarily due to a specific time zone into which the DOT could decide to put Indiana, but as primarily due to almost everyone else in the U.S. always knowing exactly how many hours different their time is from any given city in Indiana.
With about 394 miles of Indiana bordering the Central time portions of Illinois and Kentucky and about 393 miles bordering the Eastern time portions of Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, there would be approximately as many people having to adjust to having neighbors an hour different across the state line whether Indiana were placed entirely on Central or Eastern, so I don't see that as a significant factor favoring either time zone.
Business in the rest of the country is already accustomed to dealing with Indiana on Central Daylight during the 7 summer months of the year and on Eastern Standard the remaining 5 months, so year-round Central should require a slightly smaller adjustment for our business partners than year-round Eastern.
Being on Central time would serve the convenience of commerce by putting Indiana at most two hours away from all businesses in the continental U.S., rather than being up to three hours different from the west coast on Eastern time.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce points out that 39 percent of Indiana's exports are with states that observe Eastern time. This implies that the remaining 61 percent is with states that lie west of Indiana, with whom our time difference would be one hour less on Central time.
Regardless of which time zone the state may end up in, individual business executives are still free to operate their businesses on whichever schedule provides the greatest competitive advantage, as they always have been. It is already common practice to ask employees to plan their work week around a very early or very late conference call with a business several time zones away.
Some Eastern proponents express concern that it might not seem worthwhile to observe DST if Indiana is on Central time. This is a valid question that deserves evaluation. Let us compare Indianapolis with other cities across the country that are about midway between the middle and eastern edge of a standard time zone, like Indiana.
Indianapolis is about 15 minutes earlier than the center (90 degrees) of the nearest standard time zone. Other major U.S. cities which are also located 10 to 20 minutes east of their nearest standard time zone meridian include Spokane WA (10 minutes), Nashville TN (13), Boston (16), and Las Vegas (19).
The most benefit from DST is received in late July, when the sun passes overhead the latest in the day, and the maximum shift of sunlight occurs from before noon to after. The accompanying table shows how many more minutes of daylight are received after noon than before. As the table shows, Indianapolis would receive approximately as much benefit from DST on Central Time as these other similarly-situated cities.
The benefit received by Indiana from DST on Central time is nearly identical to that received by Boston on Eastern time (which lies almost exactly one standard time zone to our east). We don't hear about Boston's residents asking to be in the next time zone to their east (Atlantic Time) because they don't think they get enough benefit from DST.
|City||More minutes pm than am|