Indy Connect Seeks to Improve Life in the Indianapolis Metro Area
Indianapolis is America’s 13th-largest city. It has NFL, NBA, and WNBA sports teams. It also hosts one of the most prestigious motorsports events in the world, the Indianapolis 500. Now, regional leaders and the larger community have set their sights on further improving the metropolitan area by expanding its public transit system.
Attracting and Keeping a Vibrant Population
Community, business, and government leaders—as well as its citizens—want to see Indianapolis thrive in the 21st century. Indianapolis already has a solid public transit system, but more robust options will help it become a marquee city—one that attracts business and encourages young people to stay.
In the Indianapolis area, commute times are often long because of congested roadways. Greater investment in public transit would help ease traffic and better enable people to reach jobs across the region.
Local government and business leaders know that economic development is being held back in part by transportation issues and, in response, several local organizations have joined forces to form Indy Connect. Their goal? To help Indianapolis transportation evolve into a 21st-century multimode system with public transit as its heart and soul.
Planning for Central Indiana’s Future
Indy Connect launched in 2010, after a public opinion poll showed support for funding improvements to local transportation. Leaders of this transportation initiative conducted hundreds of meetings and community briefings and also collected input via social networks, a website, and a dedicated phone line.
Based on the feedback they received, they developed a long-range transportation plan in November 2010, with the first phase to run through 2025 and encompass the core of the metropolitan area. The plan includes expanded bus service, rapid transit, bike and pedestrian pathways, and widened roadways. The first phase would create an estimated 7,000 jobs and pay $1.5 billion to workers over 10 years.
Building Momentum to Move Forward
But several barriers remain.
The plan calls for federal, state, and local funding. While polling favors the investment, the Indiana State Legislature must first empower counties to hold tax referendums. With the legislature’s approval, counties could move forward with referendums on their local ballots. No one likes taxes, but this important step would give the people the chance to vote on whether they want to fund greater investment in public transit.
In many ways, when it comes to expanding public transportation, Indianapolis is representative of our entire nation. There is strong community and business support for moving forward, but political obstacles must be overcome.
This is why Voices for Public Transit is here. We need the people—citizens at the grassroots level—to speak out to create the political will to put more public transit solutions in place. That’s what is happening in Indianapolis, and we can make it happen across the nation if we work together.
Does your region have a long-term vision for transportation? What improvements would you like to see locally? Please share your story or post on our Facebook page!