By Anna Skinner
Clay and Washington Townships met June 28 to vote on whether or not to add a mass transit funding referendum to Nov. 8 ballots.
Whereas the Washington Township board unanimously voted in favor of having the referendum, the Clay Township board decided not to vote on the proposal, therefore preventing the referendum from being added to ballots. The Clay Township board agreed to delay voting on the matter until 2018, at the earliest.
This referendum would have allowed voters to decide on a tax increase that would help fund a mass transit system, the Red Line.
“Our Washington Township board unanimously approved the referendum on the ballot and letting the voters decide what they want,” Washington Township Trustee Danielle Carey Tolan said. “(The board) made it very clear they weren’t committing to any plans, but they felt the voters should decide. Since the Clay Township board decided not to vote on the proposal last night, ours had a continuance so that our referendum is null and void now.”
Cindy Benedict, Indy Connect project manager, said previously only counties had the ability to vote on placing a referendum on a ballot. An amendment was approved in April that now allows townships to vote. However, a township only can vote for the referendum if the bordering township already has approved the referendum. In this case, Washington Township was contingent on what Clay Township decided.
“While we were disappointed for a delay, we are still here and we will be continuing to educate people,” Benedict said. “It’s an issue that’s not going to go away because our community, as it grows in population, needs more transportation options.”
Indy Connect will still present an informational meeting open to the public 6:30 to 8 p.m. June 30 at the Bridgewater Club, 3535 E. 161st St., Carmel.
“We will be there to describe the transit plan, to tell people about what the plan is and answer their questions,” Benedict said.
During the time before the next township vote, Benedict said Indy Connect will continue to educate the public and update its website, indyconnect.org, on mass transit studies and public programs.
“As studies are completed on transit we also post those,” she said. “There are a bunch of studies coming out in August on things like economic impact … so as those get completed, we will post them. Indy Connect will continue doing public meetings on transit and transit options for Hamilton County. There is no schedule right now, but there will be more public input on what people would like for Hamilton County mass transit.”
This story will be updated.