Published August, 22 2011

Transit supporters weigh in on 2012 IndyGo Budget

As a municipal corporation of Indianapolis-Marion County, IndyGo must submit its budget to the City-County Council for approval and final adoption. The September 20, 2011 meeting at 5 pm will be open to the public and will be held at the City-County building at 200 E. Market St.  Below are the next steps in the IPTC budget process/timeline:

  • September 19, 2011 - IPTC Budget introduced at City County Council
  • September 20, 2011 - IPTC budget presented to Municipal Corporation Committee and Public Hearing
  • October 10, 2011 – Municipal Corporation Committee final budget review & recommendation, 5:30 pm, CCB Public Assembly Room 
  • October 17, 2011 – City County Council approval of IPTC budget, 7 pm, CCB Public Assembly Room

On Thursday, August 18, 2011, IndyGo held a public hearing for the agency's 2012 proposed budget. As in years past, 2012 will be a hard year for public transit in Indianapolis. Rising costs to operate (notably employee healthcare and fuel) paired with falling revenues at the local, state and federal levels will burden the bus service in 2012. The projected IndyGo budget shows revenues $6.4 million short of operating costs.

Revenue assumptions in the 2012 budget contributing to the shortfall:

•       One-time shortfall appeal in 2011 not available for 2012 ($1M)

•       One-time transfer from capital match fund in 2011 ($2.2M)

•       Anticipated Local Option Income Tax (LOIT) shortfall in 2012 ($760k)

•       Reduction in State Funding in 2012 ($352k)

•       Reduction in special contract guarantees from IUPUI in 2012 ($200k)

•       Reduction in Federal Formula Grant Award in 2012 ($352k)

•       Fares remain at current levels in 2012

Expenditure assumptions in the 2012 budget:

•       Increase in employee benefits – healthcare

•       Increase in cost for fuels – projecting $3.18/gal

•       Maintaining current service levels for fixed route and paratransit

Closing the Gap

To balance the budget which the agency is required to do by law, the IndyGo Board of Directors must make some tough decisions. Limited options are currently available to the Board. Possible solutions to balancing the budget include:

Revenue Options: 

•       Special Tax Levy – IC 36-9-4-49 (insufficient funds) Subject to City County Council Approval
             •       Levy on Marion County property owners at a rate of $0.02 per $100 of assessed property value

•       Fare Increase – fixed route and paratransit services (Further public meetings required per FTA)

•       Capital Match Funds (reductions would affect federal grant opportunities)

Expenditure Options:

•       Reduction and/or elimination of Fixed Route Service (Further public meetings required per FTA)

•       Reduction of paratransit service to minimum of federal ADA mandate (Further public meetings required per FTA)
             •       Federal ADA paratransit regulation: Must provide paratransit service within ¾ mile of a regular fixed route bus stop
             •       IndyGo Open Door currently serves all of Marion County

Public Input

Nearly fifty individuals from the public and community groups attended to give input on the budget and show their support for current IndyGo services; thirty of those fifty attendees gave public comment.

“Transit means jobs. IndyGo riders are using the service to get to work and they pay income taxes with these jobs. If IndyGo service is cut, the city will collect less income tax. Please use every possible option to maintain service. IndyGo needs local dedicated funding now.”

“I am a member of the Mobility Advisory Committee (MAC) and am completely dependent on Open Door service. Without the service, I would have no way to get to work and would miss out on other life opportunities. Please find a solution to the shortfall and don’t punish the riders.”

“I represent the Hoosier Environmental Council.  We are a strong supporter of public transit.  Public transportation is essential for access to jobs and job creation.  Service reductions should be last consideration.  Everyone should clearly and strongly express opinions to elected officials on the importance of transportation.  Transit service needs to be preserved, improved and grown.”

“I can say that losing any public bus service and/or not improving existing service can be potentially devastating. Our company employs upwards of 180 people, 60% of which are blind or visually impaired. With an unemployment rate in the blind community of 70% you can see the importance of good, affordable public transportation. I've watched the hard work and creativity of boards and committees and politicians find ways to keep the Pacers and Colts in town, bring in business, things which we all have benefitted. Let's hope that some hard work and creativity can be applied here to provide Indianapolis and the surrounding counties with first-class public transportation.”

“I am an IndyGo rider who holds down a full-time job. I am also and IndyGo rider who is transit dependent since I do not have a vehicle. I understand the economic challenges definitely have impacted IndyGo. I also realize that the board's hands are tied since there are limited options. Please, please, please do not punish the riders by increasing fares or reducing services offered. I feel more pressure MUST be placed on governor, state legislature, city-county council, and the mayor to resolve this budget crisis long-term. As far as the short-term, a special tax levy and capital match funds are the most viable option from the limited options available.”

Download a copy of the proposed 

2012 Budget Process

• August 4, 2011 – Proposed budget introduced to IPTC Board of Directors.
Download 2012 proposed budget.

• August 18, 2011 – Public Hearing – specifically for 2012 budget input.
Download presentation of 2012 budget presentation.

• August 29, 2011 – Final IPTC Board of Directors adoption of budget.
Download adopted 2012 budget. 

If you’d like to submit a comment of your own, you can do so online, in person or on the phone with IndyGo customer service.

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