In two days, 2014 will end. From what I’ve seen, most articles looking back on the year seem to think it was a bad one.

Instead of jumping on that depressing bandwagon, I’ll take it upon myself to let everyone know it’s not all bad. For positives, one need not look further than right here in Northwest Indiana.

The word for the Region in 2014, and probably into 2015 and beyond, is “expansion.” Seriously. Mainly it pertains our transportation infrastructure.

Since I wrote about it this summer, the Gary Airport expansion plan is moving forward, while the proposal for a third Illinois Airport is still in limbo. The Illiana Expressway project got federal approval this year. And the proposed South Shore expansion is moving slowly, but forward nonetheless. All of these would mean more traffic and thus more people coming our way.

True, any of these projects will take years to complete. The idea that the Region could be a major transportation hub is so far off that it seems like little more than a pipe dream right now. That doesn’t mean that such a goal is impossible to reach, however, or that we shouldn’t try.

Many politicians and civic leaders have called for us to repair and upgrade the country’s dated infrastructure. Well, turning our corner of the state from just suburban sprawl to a major transportation hub sounds like a pretty good infrastructure project to me, one that an entire community could gather around and work toward. Potential benefits won’t be limited to the construction jobs needed to build one or all of these things. Should the Region one day become a major center of transportation, the additional travelers passing through would mean more customers for local businesses.

Reaching such a goal will take time. It’ll take money. It’ll take a lot of work. But it might just be what Northwest Indiana is looking for. What better time to resolve to do it than the time of year people make resolutions to do better going forward?

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