With all due respect, we offer the following rebuttal to the commentary by the president and publisher of the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) as presented in the current issue of that paper.
The gentleman gives us this information. "We can’t move forward on mass transit approval without a majority of Marion County voters voting yes to the referendum question."
A factual error. The referendum is advisory only, and we would tend to call it a "backstop" in reality. It is something the advocates can call on when the rose-colored plans assume their true colors. Complaints will be met with, "Well, you voted for it!"
This is not legislation required by the General Assembly. It is action well within the job description of the City-County Council (CCC). This body does not require specific majority voter approval to enact tax ordinances.
Indeed, we’re being told that the referendum has nothing to do with the so-called Red Line (the Stadium/Palladium route?) - except for the inability to operate without the new funds! The Red Line construction has been approved, at a cost of about $100 million, whether we like it or not!
Given the present attitudes and priorities, we believe the inclusion in the referendum of the wording "...and implement three new rapid transit lines." tells us all we need to know about where the bulk of the money will be spent and which part of the population will really be served.
If any proposal is a matter of actual need and benefit to the city, the Council could, and should, pass the measure, without need of a "backstop." In this case, we believe that would require something like a "grid" transit operation allowing people, as much as possible, to move in all directions.
We consider the amount of hype being professionally generated by advocates of this very questionable project - as presented - reason in itself to question the whole deal.
The city does need much improved MASS transit. The current proposal doesn’t fill the bill. The referendum does not insure the needed changes.