Hello Indianapolis! It’s been a busy time for supporters of transit and sustainable communities. Here are the latest updates:
INDYGO TO END DOWNTOWN-TO-AIRPORT ROUTE SEPT. 16
IndyGo will terminate its nonstop Green Line route between the Indianapolis International Airport and Downtown at 9 p.m. Sept. 16.
IndyGo has paid for the service with a non-renewable $3 million federal grant it obtained in 2007. One of IndyGo’s popular routes, more than 29,000 one-way trips recorded this year and 45,000 in 2011. The grant covered 80 percent of the cost and fares covered the remainder.
IndyGo, according to a news release, does not plan to renew the route. It was conceived as a demonstration to show demand for a direct route with limited stops. Visitors and residents still can ride local Route 8, which also runs between the airport and Downtown seven days a week. Westbound buses to the airport stop along Ohio Street Downtown and at Zone 6 at the airport. The trip to the airport takes 45 minutes. It’s IndyGo’s most popular route, averaging more than 100,000 passenger trips each month.
Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation
2013 Proposed Budget
Public Hearing, 16 August 2012 – Highlights
OVERVIEW OF PROPOSED BUDGET AND OPERATIONS
2013 Proposed Budget:
• $65,646,437 in revenues for operating
• Includes base property tax allocation
• Proposes special levy
• Total increase of $8.3M over 2012 revised budget
• Federal Assistance (Federal Transit Administration) – 22%
• State Funds (State budget line item) – 19%
• Local Funds (Marion County Property Tax) – 39%
• Passenger Farebox Revenue – 17%
• Other – 2%
2013 Expenditure Assumptions
• Maintain current fixed route service and fares
• Increase service levels in 2013 according to the Comprehensive Operational Analysis and Service Standard Guidelines
• A 1% wage adjustment in 2013
• While fuel is budgeted at the same level as 2012, the market has unpredictable fluctuations
• An increase in employee health benefits has been budgeted at 5%
• Base property tax rate $0.0538/$100 assessed value
• Special property tax levy at $0.0332/$100 assessed value
• State funding down approximately $29,000 (State funding is a 2-year budget line item)
• Federal assistance up approximately $2.8 million as a result of the two-year Transportation Bill passed by Congress in June (MAP-21)
• Fare revenue projected to increase 6% due to growing ridership trends
• No funds from cumulative capital fund used to operate
Proposed Budget at $65M
• No service reductions or fare hikes
• Improved frequency on key corridors
• Adding weekend service on some routes
• A new route
• Improvements would be based on Comprehensive Operational Analysis (Indy Connect Bus Plan)
Budget Proposal Recap
• Committed to not raising fares or reducing service
• $65M budget would fund expansion – “Challenge budget”
• City-County Council has binding review of IndyGo budget and may:
o Amend (reduce proposed budget)
Next steps and timeline
• Monday, August 27 –IPTC Board of Directors approve budget
• Thursday, September 20 –Municipal Corporations Committee – IndyGo presents budget. Public comment accepted
• Monday, October 1 – City-County Council Public Hearing
• Tuesday, October 2 – Municipal Corporation Committee final budget review and recommendation
• Monday, October 15 –City-County Council approves budget
[City-County Council meetings are held in the City County Building downtown.]
PUBLIC HEARING: PROPOSED 2013 BUDGET FOR INDYGO NOTES
On Thursday, August 16th, IndyGo held their annual public hearing on their budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.
Despite the rain coming down by the bucket, it did not dissuade people from attending; there were virtually no empty seats available once those present had settled in. MAC (Mobility Advisory Committee) was very well represented as a number of members or disability advocates had questions for the IndyGo Board at the end of the meeting.
There were handouts and a PowerPoint presentation facilitated by IndyGo President and CEO Michael Terry. IndyGo’s board is proposed annual budget seeks a modest $6 million increase to begin expanding service next year. The transit service — which has slashed service repeatedly for years — would use the money to add more frequency to high-demand routes, expand service hours and add a new route (not yet disclosed).
Terry said he submitted two options to the board: a $59 million plan that retains current service and fares, and a $65 million budget that allows for the service increases. Later this month, the board will choose which option to send to the City-County Council for approval. “This is a first start allowing our city to demonstrate their commitment to investing in our system,” he said.
Council President Maggie Lewis says she’s willing to consider the request. “I have been a strong advocate for IndyGo,” she said. “At some point, it’s going to take us doing something bold and bigger to take our transit system to another level. I actually applaud Mike Terry for stepping out” with his budget.
Amid talk of expansion, IndyGo’s ridership has been growing. Its fixed routes carried 777,651 riders in July, and ridership is up 11.4 percent so far this year. The recent moves could help IndyGo begin to make inroads on its lackluster standing. It offers fewer routes and longer waits for riders between buses than better-funded transit agencies in cities of a similar size. In the coming year, transit supporters are hoping to gain traction on a longer-term funding solution for IndyGo.
The Central Indiana Transit Task Force plans to ask the General Assembly to authorize a voter referendum in Marion and Hamilton counties. It would pay for a 10-year, $1.3 billion plan backed by an income tax increase. The plan would pay to double IndyGo bus service and would add train service from Noblesville to Downtown Indianapolis.
Next year is the second shot in the legislature. This year, despite lobbying by Ballard and local business leaders, the bill was caught up and derailed during the right-to-work debate.
IndyGo ridership up almost 20% to start the year, 7th-largest gain in country
Job growth, gas prices, Super Bowl are cited for IndyGo’s ridership jump
Ditch the car. Take the bus. That’s the message more people in Indianapolis might be following this year.
The number of riders on the city’s IndyGo municipal transit service jumped nearly 20 percent in the first three months of this year compared with the first three months of 2011, according to data released this week by the American Public Transportation Association. That’s a jump from 2.1 million riders to 2.5 million — the seventh-largest increase in bus ridership of any city in the country. …
INDY DOWNTOWN BUS TERMINAL PLAN TAKES A NEW DIRECTION
After nearly a decade of talk and delays, IndyGo soon could pull out of the station with a plan to build a Downtown transit center to serve as most routes’ transfer point. It would be built on a city-owned parking lot, located across Washington Street from the City-County Building.
IndyGo and city leaders plan to press forward despite a recent setback: Because of the delays, federal officials yanked half of $23 million that had been set aside in federal grants.
They said the project still might be possible, even with less money available.
Transit agency officials are forging ahead on the transit center despite learning about the funding loss late last month.
The transit center project had been set to receive $28 million, including about $5 million set aside as a local match for the federal grants. Now about $11.5 million remains of the federal portion. Terry says it looks unlikely the feds will reverse the decision.
But IndyGo and city leaders say that, with their sights now on the parking lot near the City-County Building, the project still might be possible even without some of the federal grants.
That’s because acquiring the city-owned land likely would cost much less than a privately owned site. The parcel is on the north side of the Marion County Jail and provides parking for the sheriff’s employees, for police and for the Crime Lab.
Terry says the 1.9 acre site is centrally located, across the street from city hall and the Cultural Trail on Washington Street, a Downtown artery. IndyGo easily could feed most of its routes into the hub as a transfer point.
The center could include up to 24 bus docking areas, plus room for businesses and vendors. It also might accommodate Megabus and Greyhound intercity service.
The project has a winding history. The late U.S. Rep. Julia Carson obtained federal money through congressional earmarks in the early 2000s, and the Federal Transit Administration later grouped them into grants.
But the project struggled to get off the ground under former Mayor Bart Peterson and then under Mayor Greg Ballard; securing a site was the primary obstacle.
The U.S. Postal Service’s Downtown facility on South Street seemed promising — but after years of talks, the federal agency decided to keep its lease. They restarted the site search several times, only fixing on the current site in the past year.
Officials were ready to start negotiations with the Marion County Building Authority to acquire the site and to seek site approval from the federal agency.
But that’s when IndyGo lost some of the grants, which had been sitting unused for more than five years. The delay made them targets for federal auditors to pull back for other projects.
But Terry said he doesn’t see the decision as “catastrophic.” IndyGo soon will seek bids for a site study. Design work could follow over the next year, with construction starting by early 2014. The center could open that year or in 2015.
Ballard’s spokesman said the Republican mayor supported proceeding with the site, which could present opportunities for private partnerships — particularly on an underground parking garage.
But many details remain to be worked out.
Lewis, the Democratic council president, says that while a transit hub makes sense, she wants to hear public input before the site is locked up.
“I want to see where that conversation takes us,” she said, “and also would like to hear from the merchants Downtown and the individuals who actually use our bus system.”
Terry said the loss of the transit center grant money came just days before he received good news: IndyGo won a new $10 million Federal Transit Agency grant.
That money, however, can be used only to purchase buses, Terry said. IndyGo will buy about 25 buses to replace older stock.
CIRTA WEBSITE: LEADERS WITH INDY CONNECT
Central Indiana’s Transportation Initiative is launching a speaker’s bureau to deliver information about transit to individuals and organizations throughout the region. The interactive Indy Connect presentation, which lasts 15-20 minutes, will give audiences a clear understanding of the Indy Connect plan, why transit is essential to our region’s future, and what’s happening to make Indy Connect a reality.
To arrange for a speaker, contact Sean White at 317-910-4558 or submit your request to: email@example.com
THE INDY CONNECT PLAN
For those of you unfamiliar with The Indy Connect plan, it was adopted by regional leaders in 2010 and lays out a vision for investing in transportation infrastructure to help people get to work, health care, school and shopping faster and safer, while improving our environment and creating jobs.
Advocates are asking Indiana’s elected officials to support a referendum that would allow voters to decide whether they want to use local funds to support transit. “With the General Assembly looking to take action on transportation funding in January 2013, now is a good time to be informed on the plan, how it works, and what role individuals and organizations can play in shaping Central Indiana’s transportation future,” said Ehren Bingaman, executive director of CIRTA, one of the three organizations that make up the Indy Connect team. The other partners are IndyGo and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Bingaman said, “Transit is a wise investment in the prosperity of Indiana communities. Not only does it offer transportation for folks to get to work, it spurs economic development, helps attract and retain young professionals, and creates a more vibrant and connected Central Indiana.”
“We want people to understand how the plan affects them and their community so they can tell their legislators to let voters decide,” Bingaman added.
COMPLETE STREETS INFORMATION
If you missed the memo, we now have a Complete Streets ordinance in Indianapolis! To learn more about what it is and what it means for the Indianapolis community to have a Complete Streets ordinance please visit http://www.theindycog.com/indycompletestreets for more information. You can view the ordinance language and general information on complete streets.
INDYCOG began as a blog in February 2009 with the goal of celebrating and promoting cycling in Indianapolis and providing a common ground for all types of cyclists to gather. In February of 2010, INDYCOG began to position themselves as Indy’s only bicycle education and advocacy group.
In addition to organizing community building and fundraising events like “2 Wheels, 1 City” and “Pedal Indy”, INDYCOG also advocates for cyclists by serving on the MPO’s Multi-Modal Task Force, DPW’s Bicycle Advisory Council, Health by Design’s Policy & Education Committees and various other policy-oriented committees and organizations. Furthermore, INDYCOG attempts to educate the cycling and non-cycling public by informational tables as events around the city of Indianapolis.
INTERSTATE PASSENGER RAIL
For those of you interested in information in joining the conversation on the development of interstate passenger rail, please visit:
• Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC):
• Midwest Regional Rail Initiative
When walking around town I am troubled by what seems to be a growing number of people posting signs about lost pets. It is a devastating and hopeless feeling to lose a pet but there are steps that can reduce the possibility of this happening:
• Dogs should either be on a leash or in a “bark park” AND they should be wearing a collar with your pet’s name, your phone number and any other contact information you consider pertinent. Cats are rarely leashed but they too should always have a collar on them if they are outside with their name and your contact information.
• Microchip you pet; there is no good excuse for not doing this (of course we are focusing mainly on cats and dogs) as it is painless, very quick and far cheaper than enduring the pain of a missing member of your family. If you have moved, contact the vendor of microchip to provide them with an update.
• Keep good and current photos of your pet in case you have to post a picture of your family member during a search effort.
• When moving to a new area, I always familiar my pet with the area around the residence so that if they get out without a collar they will be more likely to not get lost.
• If you do lose your pet, one of several sites post an ad (lost or found) and look for your missing friend at: indianalostandfound.blogspot.com
• And remember to always neuter or spay or pet?
Until our next chat, enjoy a safe and relaxing holiday weekend.
The Green Pedestrian