INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Two years ago Mayor Gregg Ballard kicked off an effort to win legislative approval for a referendum on mass transit. It went nowhere and, then, last year a second attempt failed.
For Ballard and leaders in the business community this is a matter of economic development and they're not giving up.
They have taken lawmakers on a trip to Charlotte to show them how a mass transit system there led to investments of more than a billion dollars and now they will go to the legislature again.
The visions of mass transit buses throughout Indianapolis and a light rail line from downtown to Noblesville will not become reality without local tax hikes in Marion and Hamilton Counties. A big rally at the Artsgarden was designed to show widespread support for the proposal.
"Public transit is necessary to create and sustain a healthy, vibrant and livable city," Amy Crook of People for Urban Progress told the crowd.
But the necessary tax hikes must be approved in a referendum and the General Assembly needs to give its okay for a vote to be conducted. It sounds easy but the legislature has declined even to give the proposal a full airing. The bill has never gotten out of committee.
"Many great things that happen at the Statehouse take some years to get there," says the Mayor. "I think we all know that."
Despite the Mayor's optimism Republican control at the Statehouse and a big turnover among legislators may make his task more difficult. But some key lawmakers have pledged support.
"We have work to do," says Mark Miles of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, "but we now have Central Indiana advocates who are in a position to help us."
The hope is that the kickoff will lead to a referendum in Nov. 2014. It would call for a tax hike that would cost a family of four with an income of $50,000 to pay $10 a month.
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1776 | November 16 2012 1:28pm
I have your tax hike right here Ballard. Moved.....to Henry county. More property, less tax and crime, especially at the city county council
karen-crowder | November 16 2012 6:38am
Also i had seen some plans someone had for parts of Indpls along E.Washington and these plans included the E.Washington st/Sherman area and if the city gos ahead with the plans in the future it will put alot of people out of there homes(that cant afford to move) Mass Transit not only planned by more buses,but rail transit and other ways. So will it be like having people pay more $$ taxes then only for the city to turn around and say (you gotta move) Im not against the city bettering itself but the city needs to be upfront with the people that it will affect!!
karen-crowder | November 16 2012 6:33am
To me Mayor Ballard wants people to pay more to beautify the city for what? More crime. To me he should worry more about reducing crime first. If Indpls has to pay more for taxes then i foresee more people moving out of Indps. Im all for making the city better BUT not to where it pushes people to move out!
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