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Public Transit for Indiana Building Awareness & Engagement for a 21 st Century Transportation System May 2010 About HEC Indiana’s largest environmental advocacy organization Focuses on advocacy and education of environmental and public health issues

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Public Transit for IndianaBuilding Awareness & Engagement for a 21st Century Transportation SystemMay 2010

about hec
About HEC
  • Indiana’s largest environmental advocacy organization
  • Focuses on advocacy and education of

environmental and public health issues

  • E-newsletter circulated to 8,000 supporters
  • Partner in Indiana Citizens' Alliance for Transit
transportation in indiana
Transportation in Indiana
  • Heavy emphasis on roads
  • 6th highest road density in U.S.
  • 29 to 1 ratio for road spending
  • vs. transit
  • “Major moves”: $6 billion for new roads
Transportation is a major greenhouse gas source: 45 million metric tons released in Indiana in 2007
why public transit
Why Public Transit?
  • Energy savings and reduction in carbon emissions
  • Less pollution from motor vehicles
  • Reduced congestion costs
  • Improved land values and local tax revenues along transit corridors
  • Opportunities for urban redevelopment around transit corridors
  • Increased access to employment and community services
transit in indiana8
Transit in Indiana

65 public transit providers

  • Bus service, paratransit.
  • Eight large city bus systems include Indianapolis-IndyGo,

Fort Wayne-Citilink, Evansville-METS

  • South Shore Line: only commuter rail line in Indiana- operates between South Bend and Chicago

Profile of Central Indiana

transit is raised: IndyConnect

  • Influential private sector report with mayoral support
  • recommends expanded regional transit system along with
  • road improvements
  • Environmental study begins for first Indy-area light rail line

Light rail, commuter rail, more buses, more pedestrian and bike trails to better serve Indy metro region

what is public transit s biggest challenge
What is public transit’s biggest challenge?
  • State funding limited— provides about ¼ of total statewide operating costs for transit
  • Just 3% of our total state transportation budget goes to transit
    • Indiana’s Public Mass Transportation Fund (PMTF)-0.67% of the state sales and use tax to public transit agencies
    • Commuter and Electric Rail Service Funds- .12% of the state sales tax to the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (South Shore)
local funding sources capped
Local funding sources capped
  • 35% to 43% of transit operating budgets come from

property taxes

  • Property tax caps will limit the ability of transit systems

to keep pace with rising costs; more competition for local revenue

transit underfunded case study indygo
Transit UnderfundedCase study: IndyGo
  • 24th largest U.S. metro area, but with 100th largest bus system
  • About 30% of operating revenue from local funds
  • Better-funded systems average 60%
      • Charlotte, NC 74% local
      • Denver, CO 55% local
how does indygo compare
How does IndyGo compare?
  • About half the number of buses compared to peer systems
  • Few routes, limited frequency of service—

30 to 60 minute wait

  • Forced to be efficient: 2nd lowest ratio of operating expense to vehicle miles among peer systems
more service cuts looming while ridership grows
More service cuts looming while ridership grows
  • 9% budget cut in 2009--$5.7 million
  • $3.2 million cut projected for 2010
  • More riders will be left at the bus stop:

Ridership up 7.5% 1st Q of 2010

  • Most IndyGo riders use buses to get to work
solutions for better transit
Solutionsfor Better Transit
  • Build an alliance of advocates
  • Establish pro-transit policies
  • Increase local funding dedicated to transit
indiana citizen s alliance for transit icat
Indiana Citizen’s Alliance for Transit (ICAT)


  • ICAT advocates for the immediate development and ongoing support of comprehensive transit options in communities across Indiana.

pro transit policies regional transit authority legislation state funding flexibility
Pro-transit policies:Regional transit authority legislation &state funding flexibility
  • Enable counties to create multi-county regional transit authorities to plan, build and operate public transit systems
  • Use major moves funds and flexible federal funds for transit
increase local funding
Increase local funding
  • Legislation to authorize RTAs to levy local dedicated transit taxes
  • Require approval of voters for tax increase
    • Local sales tax, local income tax, wheel tax, food and beverage tax
common myths know the facts
Common Myths—Know the facts
  • Myth:
  • Transit only benefits people who use it


Entire community benefits

from reduced vehicle pollution

60% of central IN ozone

pollution from vehicles

Large IN urban areas get failing

grades from ALA for air quality


Transit only benefits people who use it


Drivers benefit from reduced traffic congestion


Nobody wants to ride transit


Even where transit service is poor, high gas costs resulted in more riders– across US and in Indiana

American Public Transportation Association—

“10.2 Billion Trips Taken On U.S.

Public Transportation In 2009” 

4th Straight Year of More than 10 Billion Trips

Despite the Economic Recession”


Transit has to be subsidized unlike other transportation


All forms of transportation are subsidized:

Gas taxes do not cover full cost of roads and auto travel—

other taxes and fees make up difference



We won’t give up cars


Transit is an essential service--not everyone owns

or can drive a car

Transit is an added travel choice– Americans value choice

making the case for transit
Making the case for transit
  • Quality of life
  • Thriving, walkable communities
  • Cleaner air, healthier people

Transit is good investment –

boosts urban redevelopment

  • Adding better transit with commuter/light rail improved ROI for central Indiana plan by 41%!
  • ULI/PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS “Emerging Trends” real estate report ranked TOD as one of the best bets for investors three years in a row.
  • “Best Bets 2007”. . . Global gateways with 24-hour characteristics and mass transportation “have turned into the nation’s investment property meccas.”
Transit gives us more choices, better access, and saves money

Using transit instead of driving

can save over $9,400 a year

Reduced dependence on oil
  • Transit use saves 4.2 billion gallons of gas a year
  • Gulf oil spill reinforces drawbacks of oil use
How does the public feel?
  • 72% of pro-transit referenda approved in 2009
a few good points
A Few Good Points
  • Now (before the session) is great time to talk
  • Less frantic, more casual pace – more quality interaction
  • In person meetings in the district are the most effective type of contact
  • Legislators want to hear from constituents
making contact
Making Contact
  • You have the chance to meet in a relaxed atmosphere in your local area—a big bonus!
  • Remember: every visit has an impact!
be effective
Be effective
  • Your credibility is important: only present accurate information!
  • Provide compelling information; your job is to persuade
  • You may not be an expert, but you can provide valuable information to legislators
  • Local perspective important
be informed
Be informed
  • Who are your legislators?
  • Know the facts about your legislator: political party, occupation, leadership positions, legislative committee assignments
  • Copies of bills
  • Find it all at Indiana General Assembly Web site
setting up a meeting in your district
Setting Up a Meeting in Your District
  • Call your legislator at local office or home;

ask to meet in convenient location


  • Approach him/her after

community event

at the meeting
At the Meeting
  • Bring an extra copy of the bill you will discuss or informative materials about the issue to support your position
  • Be on time!
follow up
  • Email or letter to legislator with thank you
  • Report on meeting to HEC staff
who are key players
Who are key players?

Rep. Bill Crawford (D-Indy)

House Ways and Means Chair

Sen. Luke Kenley


Senate Appropriations Chair

Sen. Tom Wyss

(R-Ft. Wayne)

Senate Homeland Security, Transportation Chair

Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson)

House Roads and Transportation Chair

case study considering community professional influences interests
Case study: considering community/professional influences & interests

Sen. Kenley

  • Harvard-trained lawyer
  • Indiana Senate’s top person on fiscal/tax matters
  • Concerned about efficient & responsible government spending
  • Represents suburban-rural district with growing population and land development
how to contact your legislator
How to Contact Your Legislator

By phone:

Indiana State Senate-

317.232.9400 or 800.382.9467

Indiana House of Representatives-

317.232.9600 or 800.382.9841

how to contact your legislator42
How to Contact Your Legislator

If you must leave a message, be sure to include:

  • Your name
  • Your address & city
  • Please (support/oppose) issue or bill number X
how to contact your legislator43
How to Contact Your Legislator

If by written message:

  • An e-mail will be most timely
  • Find legislator’s e-mail addresses at
  • A written letter must be sent promptly as the legislative session moves quickly
how to contact your legislator44
How to Contact Your Legislator

Written letter:

  • The Honorable ____

Indiana Senate / Indiana House of Representatives

200 W. Washington Street

Indianapolis, IN 46204

reach out to others
Reach out to others
  • Become a transit advocate in your community
  • More training available

Spread the Word!

find us on
Find us on

and at