November 6, 2016
Let’s be direct. This election season has been rough. The negativity and consternation has surely made most of us throw up our hands at some point.
If you’re like me, you don’t usually spend much time thinking about politics. Sure, we all try to be conscientious voters and cast our ballots in a manner that we believe will have the best impact on our country and local community. But every year, thanks to political consultants and partisan rancor, it gets more and more difficult to know how our votes can best make an impact on the issues we value.
But this election does have a bright spot. Surely we can all agree that we want a thriving community with an economy that provides all our citizens with the ability to reach their highest level of independence and self-sufficiency. I bet we can also all agree that we want to live in a city that has the infrastructure necessary to attract young people while also ensuring that our senior citizens can access medical care. And I know we all would agree that our residents deserve to be connected to one another to create a sense of purpose, belonging and community.
So here’s the bright spot: This Tuesday (or before at the Marion County Clerk’s Office), Marion County voters may cast at least one vote that will send a clear message that you want to put Indianapolis on a trajectory of ongoing success. I urge you to vote “yes” on Question 2 and support expanding mass transit for Indianapolis.
Question 2 will simply ask you to give you consent for the Indianapolis City-County Council to provide a funding mechanism (through a small local option economic development tax increase) to make significant improvements to our mass transportation system.
United Way of Central Indiana has been a proud supporter of the Transit Drives Indy Coalition. Why? Because the Marion County Transit Plan would more than triple the number of households in poverty with access to transit—which means access to jobs, critical health care, education and more. Currently 79 percent of our seniors have poor access to transit. That limits their ability to get to doctor’s appointments, to get to groceries, and to join activities that would mitigate feelings of isolation.
But improving transit means almost twice as many jobs will be easily accessible from transit routes, making it easier for people to get to work and for employers to fill open positions.
Neighborhoods in and around downtown are growing, with more than $700 million in residential building underway in the urban core. We need to fill those spaces with more resident taxpayers and commercial development. That will ensure a stronger tax base that supports investment in public safety, quality of life, economic development and other priorities.
As a community, we have a clear opportunity to express our views to our elected officials through Question 2. I urge you to cast a “yes” vote to benefit our city.
I have heard many people say that they may not vote this year. Even if you are disillusioned with the national races, I hope you will consider going to the polls to vote on issues like transit that will shape the future of our community for years to come.
I urge you to joining me in feeling confident about at least one vote you cast this year and vote yes on Question 2. Our community will thank you for generations.
Ann D. Murtlow is President and CEO of United Way of Central Indiana.