...up to a point. The headline on yesterday morning’s editorial (1/11/13) was, "Turn transit talk to action." Most of the "action" to which the author refers is the kind of intra-city transportation to which we have referred several times ourselves.
We’re all in favor of IndyGo improvements which will enable local citizens to get back and forth across town for work, shopping, entertainment, etc..
The legitimate and very important questions about operational costs as well as construction costs of the entire project are also considered. We applaud what appears to be a much more reasonable approach to the situation than the hyperbole we’re so used to seeing.
But there is one question - not mentioned and probably unanswerable - required by the fiscal history of the city.
"Can the political leadership of this city be trusted to use the proceeds of a new tax increase to do what they say they will do?" Frankly, we think not.
A relatively minor example is contained in current budget considerations before the City-County Council. After decades of proclaiming the sanctity of TIF funds, five million TIF dollars will be filtered through the CIB to pay public safety operational costs.
This, unfortunately without question by the paper, after a columnist made a vicious personal attack as an "obstructionist" on the councillor primarily responsible for a much-needed study of TIF district expansions and operations in general. A study being disastrously ignored by the same people we're worried about!
We understand the legislation introduced at the General Assembly includes a provision for further expansion of TIF districts along rights-of-way of transit routes. We wonder how long it will take to make Marion County one big TIF district/slush fund!
Are we a tad cynical in thinking that the required referendum on the proposal might read something like this?
"Do you favor a teeny tiny tax increase which will accomplish economic wonders, make it effortless and inexpensive to get around town and also eliminate air pollution?" (Rapid transit between stadium and Palladium probably would not show up.)
Until specific priorities and plans are written into the law, there is little precedent to lead one to believe that putting another billion dollars plus into the hands of current spenders is a practical idea.
After all, it was transportation money that gave us the "new and improved Georgia Street" at a few million bucks per block!