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Indiana Time

Debate 1:
Daylight Saving

Debate 2:
Eastern vs Central >
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Eastern Time vs Central Time
Time zone boundaries can follow state, county or other lines.
The decision is made by the US Secretary of Transportation.


Under the Standard Time Act of 1918, as amended by the Uniform Time Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C. 260-64), the Secretary of Transportation has authority to issue regulations modifying the boundaries between time zones in the United States in order to move an area from one time zone to another. The standard in the statute for such decisions is "regard for the convenience of commerce and the existing junction points and division points of common carriers engaged in interstate or foreign commerce."
15 U.S.C. 261.

Time zone boundaries follow county lines through twelve states, a river through a portion of Idaho and a township line through a portion of Oregon.
Each county can petition the US Department of Transportation to change their time zone. Groups of counties can also file petitions. No approval is needed from the state government. However the state, regional governments and other counties can oppose the request.

Once a petition is received the General Counsel's Office reviews the petition. If the office determines that their may be valid commerce based reasons to change the time zone boundary hearings are scheduled to determine if in fact commerce based reasoning supports changing the time zone boundary. A final determination is made by the Secretary of Transportation.

(Please see Procedure for Moving an Area from One Time Zone to Another )

For a state wide change the effort would need to be led by Indianapolis. Not from the state legislature but from Marion County and the counties surrounding Indianapolis. If Indianapolis counties made a change to Central Time most of the state would follow. (The map to the right shows the Indianapolis TV Market in yellow with Marion County in the center.) Such a major change would require the state government's coordination to submit one petition covering the entire area in question.

(Please see Indianapolis for an overview of the Eastern vs Central debate in Indianapolis / Central Indiana.)

If St Joseph County officials feel that their county is more connected to Central Time they can petition for a change. The USDOT will evaluate input from the county as well as neighboring counties with commerce connections. Berrien and Cass Counties in Michigan and Elkhart, Kosciusko and Marshall Counties in Indiana will be able to express their opinion as to how a change in St Joseph County's time zone would affect commerce.

Northern Indiana's ties to commerce go beyond the ten county TV market. Many local residents oppose such a change due to the way it would affect commerce between the South Bend-Elkhart region and regions surrounding Kalamazoo MI, Fort Wayne IN and Indianapolis IN.

(Please see South Bend for an overview of the Eastern vs Central debate in South Bend / St Joseph County.)

The time zone of counties along the Illinois state line could be changed independently of Indianapolis but in previous proceedings those counties have found themselves more closely tied to Indianapolis than Illinois.

Is a Change Supported?
At this point there is no state wide support for changing the state to Central Time. During the 2005 proceedings no central Indiana county or regional authority proposed a change to Central Time. Efforts were limited to "edge counties" near the Central Time border. Eight counties moved to Central Time with six counties reversing their move within 18 months.

Time zone boundaries are most often changed at the county level. Changing multiple counties must be done by a group of counties filing a combined petition. Changing a large number of counties (such as shifting all 80 Eastern Time counties in Indiana over to Central Time) would require a petition from the state government specifying the change.

(Please see Non-Commerce for a discussion of non-commerce based reasoning.)

Central Time and Daylight Saving Time
For those counties who petition for a change to Central Time residents should be aware that being in Central Time means that your county WILL observe Daylight Saving Time (in coordination with Chicago and other Central Time cities). Not following Daylight Saving Time would put Central Time counties on the same time as Denver, one hour behind Chicago, in the summer months. (Please do not believe politicians and others who confuse Central Time with Daylight Saving Time and propose Central Time without Daylight Saving Time.)

(Please see Daylight Saving Time for an overview of the Daylight Saving Time debate.)