Last month, I attended a meeting at the Carmel library about the proposed Indy Connect transit plan. Within Hamilton County, the plan includes rail transit, as well as rapid and express buses. There also are circulating buses that will move people from the outlying areas to the transportation centers. Judging from rush hour traffic, I’m sure you are aware that the Indianapolis area is well behind the curve in mass transit when compared to similarly sized cities such as Salt Lake City, Austin and Charlotte. While improved roads such as the Keystone Parkway are quite helpful, we face escalating traffic congestion and owe it to the next generation to build a 21st century transportation system. To learn more about the details of this plan go to www.indyconnectnow.com.
Yes, the plan requires a 0.3% income tax in participating counties. As taxpayers, we are already paying for things like police and fire protection, schools, roads and upkeep, libraries and even sports stadiums. Nothing is free, and we currently make investments in many community services. I feel the cost of this system is well worth the future benefit.
Advocates of mass transit want to give Central Indiana residents the ability to decide on the plan through a referendum. However, permission to hold the referendum must first be obtained from the state legislature. This issue will be debated at the upcoming state legislative session. I understand that Hamilton County mayors and many state representatives, including Jerry Torr, who spoke at the meeting, favor the plan. However, work is still underway to convince Hamilton County senators to support the referendum.
If you agree that mass transit is needed or believe we, as citizens, should have the right to vote on this issue, contact your state representative and state senator. You can find your legislator and his/her contact information at www.district.iga.in.gov/districtlookup.
Let them know your opinion on this issue. Together, we can make a difference!