Transportation advocates will stress improvements to the entire city bus system rather than development of controversial bus rapid transit lines as they promote a voter referendum to raise taxes for mass transit.
The vast majority of the $56 million generated by the tax would fix traditional problems vexing basic bus service, such as long waits, short hours of operation and unreliability, rather than running the Red Line rapid transit route, said officials with IndyGo and the Indy Chamber, which will push for passage of the referendum on the November election ballot.
By 2021, buses on a dozen lines would run every 15 minutes daily, compared with two lines on weekdays now; service hours would increase 70 percent; and the number of routes that run every hour would be reduced. The buses would operate 20 hours a day, starting earlier and ending later, said Bryan Luellen, a spokesman for IndyGo.
Marion County voters will be asked to raise personal income taxes by 0.25 percent to improve bus service. The increase would cost a worker making $50,000 annually $130 a year and supplement IndyGo's budget, which was $69.8 million this year.
The added revenue also would be used to operate the Red Line — the all-electric route with dedicated lanes stretching from Broad Ripple to the University of Indianapolis — and would fund sidewalk construction and shelters at bus stops.This tax increase comes following the eight years of a Republican Mayor, Greg Ballard, who, by my count, attempted to raise taxes and fees (often successfully) more than 40 times. Here is a partial list I put together seven years into Ballard's tenure.
Reporter John Tuohy's article goes on to discuss the opposition to the "$96 million Red Line, to be built with a $75 million federal grant and $21 million in local funds, [which] would be the linchpin of the reinvigorated bus system" The biggest obstacle to Red Line centers on Broad Ripple, an area I travel to frequently. The traffic congestion traveling to and through Broad Ripple is positively horrible now. Broad Ripple opponents fear the Red Line would change intersections to make the traffic situation even worse and would also encourage "transit-oriented development" which would increase congestion in the Village even more.