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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mass Transportation the Future is Calling



The pinch at the pump a few months ago led to thinking about where the future of transportation will take us. Several years ago, I began to do a personal study of mass transit. Maybe it was my exposure to the “Metro” in Washington, D.C. (www.wmata.com), or the “Tube” in London (www.tfl.gov.uk/home.aspx). Whatever it was, something has been ignited in me to see mass transit as a reality here in the center of our state.

My review led me into the studies completed by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). MPOs were created by Congress in 1962 through the Federal Aid Highway Act. They carry out the planning process with the cooperation of the states and local jurisdictions.

MPOs are required in every urbanized area as a condition for receiving certain highway and mass transit funds. Unfortunately, Madison County / Anderson are not in the 9 county hub reviewed for the first cycle of development, which I thought our community leaders should have requested of the MPO.
For 7 years, I commuted from Anderson to Indianapolis to work. I cannot tell you the number of mornings that I wished that I could have purchased a ticket, parked my car, and jumped a train down the 1-69 corridor to Indy’s east side for work. Imagine being able to catch a monorail to the airport. Imagine your kids being dropped off at a station in town and being carried to their schools or for you shopping and sports enthusiast, imagine door to door service to the games on Sunday in Indianapolis or the mall.

Our reliance on our cars is such an inbred thing that it is hard to see ourselves without them unless forced to do so. The vision I had was to see mass transit development linking the Fort Wayne and Indianapolis airports by monorail with Anderson as a centralized location to manufacture and repair rail cars in the many vacated GM plants.

At this point, change is inevitable.
Realistically, mass transit isn’t something that we can see on the horizon in our community for another 15 - 20 years without someone comprehensively planning for it now!

As a community, it is important that we have a voice in the development of the future of our transportation planning by contacting legislators on the federal and state level to lead them into investigating how we might resolve our current woes. Eliminating gas taxes and saving pennies at the pump is a band-aid.

The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies (Transportation Research Record No. 1206) has a survey document of state legislation undertaken in Indiana to identify the goals and objectives of the state transit assistance program.
You can play a role in Anderson/ Madison County not being forgotten; contact your legislators today (www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/index.htm) to ensure proper planning for our tomorrow, in our community.

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