Dear Mr. Kelly and Greenberg,
I read your article on mass transit. I disagree. I do not see an editorial section in your newspaper, so I chose to write you directly.
I whole-heartedly support mass transit for the following reasons:
- Spend time working with the disabled and you might get a different perspective. I have spent years volunteering my professional services for the disabled. It is a sad situation for the blind, developmentally disabled, sick, wheel chair bound. These individuals want so desperately to work. Unemployment affects their self worth, healthcare. Transportation is essential. I have worked with individuals that have professional degrees and Ivy league educations that cannot find work because of transportation limitations. If one receives a job offer in Hamilton County while living in Indianapolis, transportation is an issue. What currently exists is terrible. Too often we say, “pull yourself up” yet we do not provide the tools for those that can’t even get to work on a daily basis. Eighty percent of the disabled are unemployed and transportation is a major factor. This does not include the growing number of baby boomers ( myself included) that may someday not be able to drive alone. I have a friend that was diagnosed with an illness.. For nearly a year, this individual was unable to drive and had to transport children on the back of a bicycle in inclement weather because of lack of transportation. None of us know when we will be in that unpredictable situation. So would you rather individuals be working, productive citizens OR would you prefer to support tools that allow them to be more independent through your tax dollars? You cannot have it both ways. I prefer the first scenario.
- Wages are stagnant. Single transportation is very expensive and unreliable. If you have a teenage son that wants to earn money for a college education and has a job at the Children’s Museum as an example, how will he get to this job? Insurances rates will be in excess of $1000 per year. Almost daily I witness crashes on I-69. Traffic is backed up with long delays. Cars break down also and need maintenance.
- We cannot continue to build our way out of the traffic situation with roads. I have lived in Noblesville for 30 years and I-69 was once corn fields. I have witnessed the booming and expansion and it doesn’t look like it is going to stop anytime soon .It takes my spouse an hour each day to get to downtown Indy. He sits every morning and every evening. Two hours of his life five days a week. What we have is not working. We have failed miserably to manage the growth with the infrastructure in Hamilton County. Lets try something else.
- Not everything in life is profitable. We continue to build parks that need upkeep. A new one is going up in Noblesville that will require ongoing maintenance and upkeep. I would suspect these ventures are not enormous revenue producing ventures. Yet we continue because it is a quality of life issue.
- Public safety – Most major cities have some type of mass transit. Crime is everywhere. Yes, the recent shootings put us all on edge. But with your logic we would shut down airlines, Colts games, high school basketball. We manage to find the money for all these! We even pay taxes to support them. One cannot make decisions exclusively based on fear that it might be a safety risk. This logic would produce a fear so great none of us would dare step outside our homes.
- I have spent a fair amount of time in Europe. Overall, these systems provide safe and reliable transportation. I was there very recently during a labor strike. What we read in the papers here versus what is really happening there are very different situations. Even during the so called labor strikes, people are using mass transportation and getting to work. I have witnessed this fact month after month. They practically build labor strike days into their holiday schedule. Millions of people get to work, home and social events using some form of mass transportation. I do not understand the hesitancy we have to try new things that just might possibly make life better.
- It is simply ludicrous that my only options to get to the Indianapolis Airport from Hamilton County are drive myself, cab, or hire a limo. I have done all three.
So tax away! $.25/100. I will gladly pay more than my share. Because I know that every decision that is made with money is not going to be profitable or provide a return on investment. Nothing in life is free. I still believe you get what you pay for. I seriously doubt the referendum will pass. But not because we don’t need mass transportation. It will not pass because individuals will only view the decision from a financial perspective and sadly too many will say “it won’t benefit me.” “I prefer to get in my car each day and sit in traffic where I can text versus mass transportation where I can read, talk on my phone in a safe manner.” (Sarcasm) They will fail to look at the big picture and the possible opportunities that are present for the disabled, the elderly, the young that need desperately to get to work, visit their grandchild, or earn money for college.