IBJOpinion

EDITORIAL: Legislators should let public decide on transit plan

IBJ Staff
November 13, 2010
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
IBJ Editorial

A more robust public transportation system might be just what the region needs to connect people with jobs, spark development near transit stops, elevate the city’s stature, and reduce the need to regularly pour millions into widening our roads.

Or it might be a big, unnecessary waste of money.

That’s the $1.2 billion question. That’s roughly the amount local taxpayers could be expected to cover if the $2.5 billion revised plan laid out Nov. 8 by Indy Connect is built. The plan calls for rail service from downtown to Noblesville and Franklin and a dramatic increase in bus service across the region.

There’s widespread agreement that our woeful public transportation system needs help. Whether the public has the appetite to pay for it is the question. One thing is certain: Public transportation has gained traction as a public-policy question since Indy Connect was launched two years ago.

The collaboration of private-sector interests and government transportation planners set out to attack the long-simmering question of public transportation in economic terms by doing a cost-benefit analysis.

Involving respected private-sector players the likes of Mark Miles, president and CEO of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, and Allan Hubbard, a longtime local business executive, was supposed to give us a more credible answer than what we’ve heard before from people who make a living planning and promoting public transportation systems.

So, what did this public-private partnership determine? That public transit’s benefits would indeed be worth the cost. The final determination should be made by taxpayers, of course. They’re the ones who would pay. And they’ve filled meeting halls with comments both pro and con since Indy Connect began gathering feedback on the plan.

But the public is in danger of being shut out of the process.

The General Assembly decides whether the various central Indiana counties that are part of the plan can take the question to voters. That’s anything but certain in today’s political climate, which is decidedly anti-tax, anti-spend.

Elected representatives sticking constituents with a tax increase, especially in this economy, is a bad idea. But letting voters decide for themselves is another matter entirely.

Legislators know the difference. In recent years, they’ve grown accustomed to putting tough questions before voters. Tax questions are regularly the subject of referenda these days. And in recent years, Republicans, who will call the shots next year with their large majorities in both houses, have complained loudly that voters should have a say on the question of gay marriage.

Do they really trust voters, or were their comments only political bluster meant to score points on that particular issue?

We’ll find out soon enough. Will they protect us from ourselves, or trust us with an up-or-down vote on funding public transportation?•

__________

To comment on this editorial, write to ibjedit@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Taxpayers cost
    I believe the total cost is planned at over $8 billion. How can anyone have the view that federal money is government money when government money is truly taxpayer dollars sent to D.C. and then sent back.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT