First public hearing set for transit since referendum

January 29, 2017 | WTTV CBS4Indy | Link to Article

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — People living in Marion County will have their first chance to comment on IndyGo’s transit proposal since the November referendum passed.

Tomorrow in the city-county council meeting, there will hold a public hearing on the plan.

She spoke with people on both sides of the issue and joins us now to explain what’s at stake for each.

The Marion County tax hike for transit passed in a referendum in November by nearly 60 percent, but it’s not official until council makes it so.

Tomorrow, they’ll hear why they should, why they shouldn’t and the best way forward.

“We want the city-county council to know that this is very much still a priority for the citizens of Indianapolis,” said Reverend Darren Cushman Wood.

Reverend Darren Cushman Wood is a member of Indy’s Congregation Action Network.

IndyCAN! pushed hard for the November transit tax hike to pass.

Now they want to see the money get the rubber stamp from the city-county council.

“We hope that this is that real concrete, practical step to get us toward realization of mass transit being improved in Indianapolis,” said Wood.

The plans IndyGo has laid out do face some criticism.

Some money is designated for the so-called “Red Line,” a plan that would extend from Westfield to Greenwood.

An effort the “Stop the Red Line” group opposes.

“The fact that we’re starting with the Red Line is a mistake, at least north of 38th Street. It should not go up to Broad Ripple, to the restaurants and the nightlife,” said Lee Lange, a northside resident and member of “Stop the Red Line”.

Lange believes councillors will likely side with voters and pass the financial mechanism. She and the others with “Stop the Red Line” say they want to see IndyGo held accountable for the money they’re getting.

“The voters voted to support better transit, but people do not understand the plan,” said Lange. “There is a lot of confusion out there about how this money will be used.”

Something Lange and IndyCAN! do agree on is that the east and west sides of towns could be greatly helped, if this plan is executed the right way.

“It’s going to be much greater access to transit, so that people’s lives can be improved,” said Wood. “They can be able to get to work better and connecting our neighborhoods that have been disconnected.”

The meeting begins at 7 p.m., but the transit proposal is the final item on the agenda.