Carmel mayor: Mass transit will help all of central Indiana

Mayor Jim Brainard (WISH Photo)

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) – This year, central Indiana transit promoters may get something they’ve wanted for a long time – a plan for a better way to move people around the region.

In Carmel, Mayor Jim Brainard told 24-Hour News 8 he hopes the General Assembly overcomes past objections and approves the concept, this year.

Tuesday, a committee of the state Senate approved a proposal and sent it to the full Senate for consideration.

“We’ll continue to be a competitive state for business development, if we stay ahead of the game,” he said.

In this case, that means investing in alternatives to more pavement.

“Roads are expensive. $10 million a mile for a new road and you have to maintain it,” he said.

Right now, though, he’s asking only that the legislature approve a funding source. He wants the legislature to give voters a voice in the discussion – let Hamilton County and the other doughnut counties decide whether to raise their taxes to pay for better transit.

“The legislature shouldn’t be designing the system,” he said. “That’s my criticism of the proposal to limit in the bill what the voters can vote on.”

Once – or if – funding is approved, Brainard said “then the experts need to go out and work with elected officials and work with the public and present their plans as to what works best for each region.”

As he sees it, improved mass transit would help all of central Indiana.

“If we’re going to continue to compete for corporate headquarters and good jobs. Not just jobs.  But really good jobs, we have to make it convenient for people to get around,” Brainard said.

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