Jeremy (#76) wrote, "... you have to admit that this quote is irrelevant. Think of how much has changed since 1953... There has been a change in the country and these statistics have absolutely nothing to do with Central/Eastern timezone... think about all of the cities (and just land) in between Philly, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Denver, etc. Each of those cities are located pretty close to the middle of their respective time zones. Indianapolis is located at the edge of its time zone (whether that's Eastern or Central)..."
Thanks for your thoughtful comments Jeremy. I agree that we cannot make too much of the state's per capita income history. About all I make of it is that there was no apparent harm to Indiana's economy when the entire state was on one time zone and when we were on the same time zone as our western neighbors, and I doubt that it would do any harm to the state economically to return to that situation.
You accurately point out that the four cities that I picked as examples are each very near the central meridian for their respective North American time zones, as well as being near the same latitude as Indiana. Therefore, there are pretty representative of "normal" for our distance from the equator.
We were on year-round eastern standard time for so long, which was effectively central daylight saving time given our longitude, that it is really easy to lose track of what is typical for our latitude. During that time, we averaged about 45 minutes of DST year-round -- about 45 minutes of sunlight shifted from the morning to the evening.
The time zones were laid out so that places like these four cities that are near the central meridian for their time zone (75, 90, 105, and 120 degrees longitude) would set their clocks to match their local mean time (solar time averaged out over the year). Locations in the eastern half of the time zone would have their clocks up to 30 minutes slower than their LMT and those in the western half would have the clock up to 30 minutes faster than their LMT.
The mid-point between these meridians for eastern (75) and central (90) is 82.5 degrees. This natural boundary runs near the eastern edge of Michigan and Kentucky, and right down the middle of Ohio. It's pretty easy to see why Ohio asked the national government to move the boundary to their western border, so the entire state could be in a single time zone. It's harder to figure out why Indiana would have asked to have it moved even further west to divide us into two zones. Quite a few Hoosiers can attest how awkward it is to have the boundary running between the counties within a state.
"USDOT decides" (#83) wrote, "Time zones are decided by the USDOT, not a governor, not the legislature, and local politicians..."
While that is technically correct, the DOT certainly weighs heavily the input and requests of state and local politicians, as the duly elected representatives of the people, when they make these sort of decisions.
In 1967, for example, six years after the federal government had first divided us by moving half of Indiana from central to eastern time, Governor Branigan petitioned the DOT to place all of Indiana back in the central time zone.
In their opening post (Docket OST-2005-22114-1), the DOT's position is, "The General Assembly and Governor of the State of Indiana have asked the Department of Transportation (DOT) to initiate proceedings to hold hearings in the appropriate locations in Indiana on the issue of the location of the boundary between the Eastern and Central Time Zones in Indiana. The General Assembly and Governor did not, however, take a position on where the boundary should be..."
The strong implication from the DOT is that if the General Assembly and Governor took such a position, the awkward county-by-county petition process would no longer be needed.
Thu, 12 Jul 2007, 7:12 am EDT
Ex-congresswoman enters race for Indiana governor - Topix
Federal Bureaucrat to the Public: Be Afraid!
5 hours ago