Letters and Opinion

Waltz changed emphasis of transit debate

July 13, 2013

Like Sen. Waltz, I will be serving on the legislative study committee dealing with the future of public transit for central Indiana. The committee has yet to meet and the senator had not shared his ideas with me, so I was interested in his thoughts [July 8]. He seems to have redefined our task.

The question before the General Assembly had been whether to permit local governments to work as a region using a special, but limited, tax source to support public transit. A regional approach would benefit all central Indiana by supplementing a system too reliant on automobiles with sensible, affordable and environmentally sound public transit. Everyone benefits.

The senator seems to reject this idea in favor of the old bromide: more asphalt and more condemnation cases. In the process, he would widen College and Capitol avenues and other thoroughfares on my side of town, and involve the Legislature in street-level planning of transit and traffic.

Waltz apparently rejects the views of my constituents and civic groups like the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce that we have a regional problem with traffic and that modern transit can help alleviate that problem. If we refuse to take a modern approach, as other cities have, the problem will only grow worse.

Prior to the article, I thought that all the members of the committee could agree on a couple of points. These would include the concepts that central Indiana has regional needs and that these needs include modern public transit.

I also believed that all of the committee members would trust local voters and locally elected officials to devise a modern transit system if the Legislature gave them a structure for management and a source of funds.

I am confident that with public support, the General Assembly can pass enabling legislation and leave the planning to those who chose to participate.
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State Rep. Ed DeLaney
House District 86
 

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