IBJOpinion

EDITORIAL: New transit study focuses on return as well as cost

 IBJ Staff
February 13, 2010
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IBJ Editorial

Central Indiana is much better at churning out transportation studies than implementing a real transit system, but there’s reason to take seriously the report released Feb. 10 by the Central Indiana Transit Task Force.

Unlike its predecessors, the new study wasn’t the brainchild of environmentalists or people whose jobs revolve around promoting non-car travel. The task force was led by Allan Hubbard, co-founder of locally based acquisition firm E&A Industries and an economic adviser to both Bush administrations. The group also included representatives of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and Central Indiana Community Foundation.

The business-savvy group’s charge was to view transit through an economic lens. Its conclusion: A $6.7 billion, multi-modal system that would cost more than $100 million a year to operate would be worth the money.

The payoff, says the new report, would be a region better able to attract jobs, talent and investment. More specifically, a rail line from Fishers to Greenwood and an east-west transit system on or near Washington Street could be a magnet for developments worth billions of dollars.

The study’s findings aren’t groundbreaking. Most cities our size already have a transit system. Yes, such systems are expensive, but when implemented thoughtfully they can become an economic engine.

As the new report’s findings are vetted at a series of public forums over the next 10 months, most of the discussion will focus on the cost of a transit system and how to pay for it. That’s as it should be—but the potential return on investment should not be forgotten.

Stop ‘guns at work’

Bills that would prevent businesses from prohibiting guns on company property flew through the Indiana House and Senate last month, and that’s as far as they should go.

Gov. Mitch Daniels ought to step in with a veto.

The bills, which would prevent employers from prohibiting guns kept in vehicles on company property, passed overwhelmingly—41-9 in the Senate and 76-21 in the House. Daniels would risk a probable override if he were to put his prestige on the line with a veto. Yet, we hope he does.

Businesses concerned about guns as a threat to employee safety should be able to prohibit them on company property. The state shouldn’t usurp that authority because of pressure from the National Rifle Association, which asserts, among other things, that employees might need a gun for protection when traveling home through rough neighborhoods.

Legislators reluctant to dictate to businesses on the issue of smoking in the workplace seem all too eager to impose the government’s will in this case.•

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To comment on either topic, write to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

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  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

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