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Friday, November 9, 2012

Weed, same-sex marriage, women and public transit

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 12:30 AM

click to enlarge Ashleybusstop1small.jpg

Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, Maryland and Maine legalized same-sex marriage, Washington will likely do the same, and Minnesota rejected the ban on same-sex marriage. This election secured another term for President Obama and a record number of women are now in the US Senate and House. I'm personally pretty happy about the progress our country has made in this election and wouldn't have cast my vote any other way.

To add to the glory, from Louisiana to Michigan, West Virginia to Oregon, Americans voted for transit. Both small towns and large metropolitan cities voted to increase property, sales and even gas taxes to fund increased public transit, equaling roughly 80 percent in favor of the ballot questions across the nation. With all of this referenda passed around the country, we have some celebratory milestones made right here in Indianapolis.

I know I've mentioned IndyGo's budget proposal and how it passed a few weeks back, but the announcement of specifics was made this week and it's good. All of the proposed changes will be phased in during the next year. These things will include greater frequency on routes 8 (Washington St.), 10 (10th St.) and 39 (Meridian/38th St.) that will launch in February. It also includes a new cross-town route along 86th/82nd Street, which is planned for June, as well as route frequency improvements and other service alignments. There will also be additional tweaks to schedules and routing that could happen in October.

Remember the referendum that was turned down by the House Ways and Means Committee? If not, read back. Next week a legislative campaign will begin resuming the fight to bring it to a vote. If voters side with transit, there will be a .3% local income tax increase and bring the RTA revenue to $89.3 million. The money would be part of the funding for the ten-year, $1.3 billion capital plan, with a good portion of the rest of the money being federally funded.

All of these plans seem so far off and get me exasperated thinking about how long it's going to be before I can comfortably and easily be a bus rider. The hope is that so many other cities and towns across the nation are paving the way for Indianapolis to step up with their public transit... the marijuana-legalizing, same-sex legalizing states should bring a new level of comfort and hope, right? Right?...

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