Here’s what I don’t understand.
The City of Indianapolis and surrounding counties want to vote on whether to tax ourselves in order to support a minimally-decent public transportation system. It is widely acknowledged that we do not have such a system now.
I am strongly in support of this much-needed upgrade to our current, inadequate bus system, but I do understand that some people–for whatever reason–either do not support expanded transit or do not agree with the current approach to constructing such a system. Fine. Those are matters for debate and an eventual vote to determine whose view is more persuasive.
What I do not understand is the disinclination of some Indiana legislators to allow us to make that decision and hold that vote. I am offended–and I think Indianapolis residents should all be offended, whatever our position on mass transit–by the reluctance expressed by members of the General Assembly to allowing us to decide this issue for ourselves.
This is a prime example of the problems Indiana cities and towns face because we lack meaningful home rule. In other states, local units of government have the authority to decide such matters without having to beg legislators for permission.
Think about how ridiculous this situation is. The citizens of Indianapolis are asking the legislature to allow us to make a democratic decision on a matter that will affect only us. Self-important legislators who represent parts of the state that will be entirely unaffected by whatever decision we make are stroking their chins and taking the matter “under advisement.”
I’d love to ask them who the hell they think they are, but I know the answer. They are petty dictators who think that their exalted positions would somehow be diminished if we were allowed some measure of local decision-making authority–and who have the legal power to say “f#*k you” to the residents of Central Indiana.
Against mass transit? Fine. Against the current proposal for expansion? Okay.
Against self-determination and home rule? Despicable and unacceptable.