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Red Line Construction: Where's The Money?

Construction is supposed to begin in March, but where's the federal funding for Indy's future mass transit?

(Photo credit:Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock)

Drivers around Indy are seeing the signs - the big black and yellow Lite-Brite looking things warning us of impending construction of Indy’s future mass transit system:

The Red Line.

(Photo credit: IndyGo)

The very non-polarizing (sarcasm) high speed bus service will run from Broad Ripple, through downtown, and terminate at the University of Indianapolis. Construction was expected to begin in March, with the maiden voyage anticipated for sometime in 2019.

(Photo credit: IndyGo)

Problem – federal funding hasn’t arrived yet.

Honestly, this was supposed to be a blog outlining the construction process – as in what neighborhoods would be affected and when. IndyGo – the managing company of the Red Line – scheduled a series of open houses for January and February that would provide that very information.  So far, the open houses haven’t produced these specifics because the dollars haven’t been deposited. 

No money equals no construction, therefore the lack of a timetable.

The money is there - Congress appropriated 50-million dollars of the full 75-million dollar grant last spring.  So what’s the hold up?

We reached out to Bryan Luellen – Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications for IndyGo – who told us the Federal Transit Administration (USDOT) still needs to sign off on the grant agreement, and that IndyGo is hearing March is the earliest funds would be available. Once they get the cash, then the contractors can start building bus stations:

(Photo credit: Indygo)

He further added the groundbreaking date hasn’t been set, hence the lack of detail on construction.

Fair enough.

IS THE RED LINE IN TROUBLE?

Hypotheticallyis there a real possibility that USDOT could renege on the funding - leaving the Red Line high and dry (after all, the money was allocated during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration)?  And would that ultimately mean the end of the Red Line? IndyGo seems confident that USDOT will sign off as planned, not to mention a complete 180 would likely require some sort of congressional action. But until the cash changes hands, well, it simply isn't there. Maybe the Indianapolis City-County Council already provided a safety net with the passage of a 54-million dollar annual tax to supplement the federal money (per public referendum), which makes nuking the project seem unlikely - even with certain hypotheticals in play.

@WIBCTraffic is definitely keeping an eye on this, and we plan on being your “go to source” on when and how the construction will affect your commute. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Red Line by attending one of the open houses, or by visiting IndyGoRed.com.


POTHOLES

Big, fat, gaping potholes - or "chuckholes" in Shelby County - form when the weather runs warm and cold and warm and cold. Notable because we're going through another "warm" spell, meaning these transmission suckling road goblins are going to be popping up in full force. Think last week was bad? Oh buddy:

On the northwest side, potholes the size of a refrigerator formed on the ramp from westbound I-465 to southbound I-465 

Potholes on Capitol Ave. and Fall Creek Pkwy. What could go wrong?

Potholes everywhere! 

https://twitter.com/gamechanger317/status/953365572376555520

If you get creamed by a pothole or see one that's going to ruin your neighbor's day, try using this website, here. You can also check the progress the city is making on filling potholes, here. 

As far as interstate potholes or any road that falls under the jurisidction of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), shoot me a tweet, and I'll see if we can help each other out.  I mean, sometimes all you have to do is ask:

 


Traffic calamity code red - as in gridlock - reared its ugly face twice last week, and I'm grateful to be part of a team of listeners who are so enthusiastic to share their experiences. It really helps me paint the picture, and who knows, it may help a Hoosier or two. As always, send tweets and pics from a safe spot - no need to become part of the traffic report.

Be well. Much love.

-Bair 


Matthew Bair was hit repeatedly by the same bus, but it wasn't a high speed bus, so he lived to tell the tale.  He's the new voice of Indianapolis traffic, and can be followed on Twitter @WIBCTraffic. Tips? Call direct at (317) 684-8134 or the 93 WIBC Newsroom at (317) 637-6397.

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