- NUVO file photo
- One of Indianapolis' mass transit bus system
Like a light at the end of the tunnel, Indy voted in favor of a question two from the election day ballots — a vote that depicted Indianapolis’ interest in increasing mass transit within the city.
The question read as follows:
Shall Marion County have the ability to impose a county economic development income tax rate, not to exceed a rate of 0.25%, to pay for improving or establishing public transportation service in the county through a public transportation project that will create a connected network of buses and rapid transit lines; increase service frequency; extend operational hours; and implement three new rapid transit lines?
It should be noted however, that the vote is simply a way to gauge interest. The increase won’t actually touch taxpayers until there is a vote and decision from the council.
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The tax increase shakes out to 25 cents from every $100 earned. That money will go to overhauling the current IndyGo bus system — which desperately needs it, according to supporters.
NUVO’s news editor Amber Stearns noted the impacts that mass transit currently has in Indiana in an earlier article, writing:
“Economic development officials agree with studies that show how access to employment factors into a company's decision to locate in an area. Social justice advocates point to employment access on behalf of the employee. Unreliable transportation to a job can prevent an unemployed individual from taking a job they know they won't be able to get to. Millennials are wanting more opportunities to live close to where employment as well as lifestyle amenities are close by, especially those concerned with reducing their own personal carbon footprint on the world. The U.S. Center for Disease Control found that people who utilize public transportation get more exercise simply by walking to and from stops and destinations. And fewer cars on the roads mean fewer vehicle accidents resulting in personal injury or damage, according to the National Safety Council.”
RELATED: Letter to the Editor on the community impact of mass transit
Opponents of the plan recommend investing in more “modern” modes of transportation such as Lyft and Uber.
Currently, IndyGo bus riders can wait up to 90 minutes for some bus lines. Most of the services make stops every 30 minutes to an hour. Part of the additional funds would add more buses — pushing service wait times up to 15 minutes between buses.
The proposed rapid transit lines — the Red, Blue and Purple lines — would operate with a frequency of every 10 minutes, putting as much rapid in "rapid transit" as possible.
This is the first time that mass transit has made its way onto a ballot for Indianapolis; Indy natives made their voices heard with 189,576 voting yes and 130,112 in opposition.