A measure that raises taxes to expand public transportation was introduced Monday night to the City-County Council, the start of its path to possibly becoming law.
In November Marion County voters approved the plan to raise local income taxes to pay for expanded mass transit with 60 percent of the vote.
A majority of voters in 19 of the 25 Districts voted to approve the referendum, and the measure needs 13 votes to pass. But Republican Councilman Jeff Miller says details about the plan, such as the size of its tax increase, currently set at 0.25 percent, could change as it moves through committee hearings over the next two months.
"Ultimately I hope that people understand our city is facing great poverty," Miller says. "We see it in the homicide rate, we see it in our crime rate, we see it in how many people are not making livable-wage jobs. This is not the silver bullet, but it’s huge."
Critics say better mass transit is needed in Indy, but that the measure is more of a pipe dream than a practical plan.
Local resident Jewel Lofton was one of a couple dozen people who showed up in support of the measure, she says taking the bus to her job and back used to take four hours daily, causing her to move.
"Individuals shouldn’t have to move to different neighborhoods just to be able to get around the city. And so while I had to make that change, I don’t want to see other people have to make that change," Lofton says.
The council is scheduled to vote on the measure February 27th.