Letter: OneZone talks public transit

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Editor,

In addition to other business-serving organizations in Greenwood, Indianapolis and Westfield, OneZone is in support of the creation of a Regional Development Authority. We applaud Current’s comments that the idea could work, and we’ve consistently championed the belief that public transit is important to our region’s future economic development.

But here’s where we disagree:

  • Privatization. Presuming privatizing transit would necessarily make the endeavor profitable requires a large leap in logic. Public transit around the world, with rare exception, does not make a profit, and is subsidized to ensure its availability to everyone.
  • Use of public funding. Why do we have no problem utilizing public monies for infrastructure – streets, highways, and bridges, but not transit? Why didn’t we demand that US 31 be privately constructed? Why not privatize municipal street maintenance and snow removal?
  • Economic need and Business attraction. We’re excited when we attract new businesses with hundreds of jobs to our communities, but often fail to realize how hard many of those jobs may be to fill without an economically feasible way to get employees to those jobs. Even the job fairs held to attract potential employees are conducted at sites accessible by bus.
  • The costs of the alternative. Finally, with the cost of structured parking garages exceeding $20,000 per space, it’s time we think about providing businesses with options for investing in people and people places instead of car spaces.

The establishment of the RDA is an important step toward keeping our region competitive. As individual communities, we are no strangers to the concept of establishing quality of place. It’s driven myriad developments and has given us increasing ammunition in business attraction. We know that enticing business is much more than providing land for an office building.

As individual communities, we’ve done a lot. Together – thinking regionally – we can do more.

Mo Merhoff, President
OneZone, Inc.

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