City-County Council to consider transit expansion, tax hike

The fate of IndyGo’s plan for transit expansion now rests in the hands of the City-County Council. (WISH photo)
The fate of IndyGo’s plan for transit expansion now rests in the hands of the City-County Council. (WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)—The fate of IndyGo’s plan for transit expansion now rests in the hands of the City-County Council.

Marion County voters approved an income tax increase of up to 0.25 percent last week to fund the project. The plan won’t become a reality until councilors approve it.

IndyGo riders complain of long waits.

“The weekends, the bus only comes once an hour,” daily rider, Richard Edwards said.

“Right now, we’re waiting an hour,” rider, Stephanie Meyer said Monday.

IndyGo officials said a 0.25 percent tax hike would allow them to increase their service by 70 percent. The plan is to add two new rapid transit lines: the blue line and the purple line.

Phase one of the red line will be federally funded, but IndyGo spokesman Bryan Luellen said a tax hike would also expand the red line.

“That means buses will be coming more frequent,” Luellen said. “All day, every day. Earlier in the morning, later at night.”

Luellen said he expects council to vote within the next few months. He said IndyGo hopes to start the purple line construction in 2019 and the blue line in 2020.

Councillor Colleen Fanning voted for the plan on her ballot. That won’t stop her from asking questions leading up to a council vote.

“I want to make sure we give small businesses and homeowners support during the construction phase so that we get through what will necessarily be a difficult transition,” Fanning said.

IndyGo’s team plans to meet individually with each councilor.

Fanning said most councilors agree, Indianapolis needs a better transit system.

Meyer usually brings a book to the downtown transit center to help pass the time.

“You have to leave three hours before an appointment to get to your appointment on time,” Meyer said.

Voters passed the referendum last week by a count of 59 percent to 41.