Township should decide if it wants bus service

The Greater Greenwood Chamber, long an advocate of transportation improvement, has taken the position that the Pleasant Township (Johnson County) Advisory Board should place on this fall’s ballot a funding referendum to connect Greenwood with the rest of the region’s new transit system.

The “Red Line” (bus rapid transit line) will run from Hamilton County, through Marion County, to Johnson County. Should the advisory board decide to put the referendum on the ballot, public meetings will be conducted to help residents learn about plans for the efficient, expanded transit system. The board must vote prior to mid-July to provide sufficient time for the final certification process.

Pleasant Township will be served by the southernmost leg of the Red Line, which will include three stops. Thus, the township’s decision to add this item to the ballot is critical to the success of the Red Line project in Johnson County. The Red Line will terminate just north of Smith Valley Road and Madison Avenue.

Proceeds would be used to fund the Red Line’s construction and operation in Greenwood, which the Chamber has been supporting, and accelerate the timetable for the Greenwood leg of the Red Line to become operational. It also would fund other public transportation services in Pleasant Township involving new or increased “fixed routes” that circle the township and connect with the Red Line.

The Indiana General Assembly established a timetable providing for units of government in all three counties — including Pleasant Township — to decide on the ballot issue by mid-July. The Indianapolis City-County Council has voted to place a referendum on the ballot asking voters to fund transit developments in Marion County. Advisory boards of the two Hamilton County townships to be served by the Red Line have scheduled a vote today to decide whether they also will place a funding referendum on their fall ballot.

Development of the Red Line will help businesses and the community at large in several important ways: it will connect our employers to a wider pool of employees, connect our businesses to a wider pool of customers, and better connect our residents to regional employment, cultural and sports centers. And it will spur economic growth via new development along the Red Line route.

The chamber’s position is the Pleasant Township advisory board should let the residents of Pleasant Township decide if they want to invest in an expanded, convenient and efficient transit service for all residents, young and old. We encourage the board to meet and vote in favor of placing the funding question on this fall’s ballot.