Last summer, we said central Indiana was experiencing the perfect storm for mass transit. Gas prices were high, transit
ridership was up, and studies showed growing public support for mass transit.
But this summer, the story was different. Gas prices were down. Ridership declined locally and nationally. And a lot of workers fell back into pre-gas-spike commuter habits.
As a result, more than a few people suggested that increased interest in mass transit was simply a knee-jerk reaction to a short-term problem. Now that the crisis has passed, they said, maybe transit’s moment has passed, too. We told them they were wrong—that plenty of people see mass transit as a long-term solution, not a short-term fix.
Now we have new numbers to back that up—thanks to you.
According to the results of the IBJ Daily reader poll reported in the Sept. 14 IBJ, more than three-quarters of IBJ [Daily] readers agree or strongly agree that “the Indianapolis area should pursue mass transit on a broad scale”; and more than half of all respondents would support a higher gas tax to help fund mass transit.
Why do we think those numbers are so high? Because savvy businesspeople know that a great city offers commuter options to its residents. It connects its communities. It seeks new ways to reduce its environmental impact.
And, perhaps most important, it doesn’t simply dive for cover when the perfect storm approaches; instead, it prepares for the future, so it’s already protected when the next storm comes rolling through.
Ehren T. Bingaman
Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority