By Lindsay Doty
Two public meetings were held in Plainfield and Guilford Township this month to gather community input on how to improve public transit in a growing community.
Plainfield and Guilford Township leaders are considering a voter referendum that would help pay for transportation improvements under what’s being called the Central Indiana Transit Plan.
The language on the proposed voter referendum being considered for November would ask county taxpayers in Guilford Township to approve a 0.25 percent income tax hike to pay for public transportation improvements.
That comes out to $100 a year for residents earning a $40,000 salary, or $10 a month for the average household in Guilford Township.
“We want to hear what the voters want,” Plainfield Town Manager Andrew Klinger said.
The referendum stems from legislation that was passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2014. Senate Bill 176 paves the way for counties to have voter referendums on whether to fund mass transit projects primarily through income taxes, supporting projects like Marion County’s Red Line.
Plainfield and Guilford Township leaders are working with groups like Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization, a transportation planning agency, to get opinions on what transit improvements are needed and wanted beyond the car.
“It could be a fixed line system or providing funding to the existing LINK Hendricks County which has more requests for rides than they can provide,” Klinger said. “Transit is a complex issue. It has to be a system that meets different needs for different people.”
According to the Hendricks County Community Foundation, the top ranked issue from our 2019 Community Needs Assessment was inadequate public transportation and traffic congestion.
In Plainfield and Guildford Township, 42.7 percent of residents surveyed listed transportation and traffic as a top five issue.
A steering team made up of township and county representatives, along with community members, is working with MPO and the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA), a regional governmental organization focused on bringing more transportation options to Central Indiana, to come up with a proposal.
It will be presented to the Guilford Township Advisory board in March.