The countdown is on for the Nov. 8 referendum asking Marion County voters to invest in a 21st century mass transit system. If approved, this investment would be less than $10 a month for an average family. That is 25 cents for every $100 of taxable income, which could generate roughly $57 million a year by 2021.
This investment would bolster our region’s economy while improving the lives of residents and enhancing the experiences of visitors to our great city. In the past few years, we’ve seen Indianapolis transform into a more vibrant and mobile city. We are embracing a culture of transit like never before with innovative programs like our new Julia M. Carson Transit Center, Pacers Bikeshare, and on the near horizon, IndyGo’s Red Line, which will run from Broad Ripple south to the University of Indianapolis This will provide frequent and fast service, connecting residents and visitors with more places to work, shop and experience this great city. This is fitting for the nation’s 14th-largest city, one that attracts major conventions and events each year.
What is not fitting is that Indianapolis ranks 64th out of the 100 largest metros in transit coverage for workers and employment. It’s also not acceptable for our growing city to not have a long-term solution to connect residents to the quality of life they deserve. Every day, people travel to meet their needs for subsistence, whether it is to go to work, go to the store for groceries, go to the doctor or for some other essential service. People also travel to go to school, participate in social/cultural activities, and to visit friends and family. Without question, everyone deserves greater access to employment, education, food, health care and recreation.
A mass transit plan will enable the success of so many of our neighborhoods. Currently, Great Places 2020 is transforming strategic places in Marion County into dynamic centers of culture, commerce and community in three distinct neighborhoods: Englewood Village, Maple Crossing and River West. One of the reasons these neighborhoods were selected by philanthropic, civic and private partners was due to their location on planned transit routes.
Transit drives quality of life and it drives jobs. Most transit trips are for employment. They help our senior citizens and those with disabilities be more independent. Transit simplifies our lives and makes the daily routine more convenient. It helps business be more competitive and more accessible. Mass transit can and will equate to economic mobility and economic development. This is a transformational opportunity for Marion County residents. We must power forward on Nov. 8.
president and CEO
Indianapolis Power & Light Co.