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Mass transit gets TV, radio campaign

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Supporters of mass transit in Central Indiana are hoping to build public support with a campaign as the state legislature reexamines the issue.

House Bill 1011 would allow voters in a 10-county region around Indianapolis to raise their income taxes by three-tenths of one percent to fund transit. Marion and Hamilton counties would likely be the first to hold referendums on the idea.

The $1.2 billion proposal would double the size of IndyGo bus service, add a rail line from Noblesville to Indianapolis and add five “Bus Rapid Transit” lines in the area. More counties could join the effort as it develops. The project would be eligible for federal funding.

A similar proposal fizzled in the House during last year’s session.

Supporters will begin airing TV and radio ads to support the proposal. They’ll also hold meetings and an online seminar.

The plan would add three rapid transit lines color-coded red, blue and green. The red line would run north and south from Carmel through Indianapolis to Greenwood. The blue line would go east-west on Washington Street from Cumberland to the Indianapolis International Airport. The green line would go from downtown Indianapolis to Noblesville along the Nickel Plate rail corridor.

The Indy Connect initiative is a partnership of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, IndyGo and the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority. Local mayors, including Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear and Westfield Mayor Andy Cook, have voiced their support for the initiative.

5 comments

  • Todd

    I am all for mass transit, but the first rail should be from the airport to downtown. That would make money. But, what do I know, I only worked on the railroad 35 years. I am positive the local politicians will do it ass-backwards and lose money.

  • MeatPlow

    Good plan Todd, you need to put in a application with Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority.
    Next set up Fishers and Greenwood with lines to the city. It would be very practical to fly out of the city and forget about your car (or where you lost it).

  • Rob

    Mr. Ballard all ready is set to tax people to death, people in this county are absolute morons for any support for a tax increase. Hopefully this might snap you out of your spell you under an turn against this tax increase. This will be a help for a small few and punish everyone. This city is way to small for any transit .

    • tim

      Hi Rob I am ready and really enthusiastic about paying a tiny %0.3 in MARION county income tax to help fund a better mass transit solution for centeral Indiana !

  • Shayla

    According to the Indiana Railway 2012 map, there are 10 railroads that branch out from Union Station to the adjacent counties mentioned in the mass transit plan. Of those 10, 6 are csx operated lines. Are there any studies currently assessing the feasibility of contracting these lines out with csx and getting commuter rails in place sooner than 2035? With 6 csx lines, and 4 lines owned by the state of Indiana, why not start off by developing a commuter rail system and building the current bus system? With increased bus service, BRT, and having multiple stops along those lines mentioned within Marion county, we could possibly forgo the idea of light rail for right now and put it in the distant future if the population were to outgrow the aforementioned concepts.
    Expansion in the transit system is what Indianapolis needs. Nashville, Charlotte, Cleveland, and Minneapolis have all been on board for awhile, and they've seen substantial growth. It's time Indianapolis stop letting other cities pass them by.

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