Rapid Transit Plan Scores Big Federal Funding

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When fully built, the $96 million line would run from Westfield through Carmel and downtown Indianapolis and extend to Greenwood. When fully built, the $96 million line would run from Westfield through Carmel and downtown Indianapolis and extend to Greenwood.

An Indianapolis rapid transit plan has cleared a major hurdle. The Federal Transit Administration is recommending $75 million for IndyGo's planned Red Line Bus Rapid Transit route. If approved, the money will fund the first phase of a planned 35-mile, three-county rapid transit line. IndyGo President Mike Terry says the first 13-mile stretch will connect riders with 100,000 existing jobs, four major educational institutions and hospitals and medical services.

When fully built, the $96 million line would run from Westfield through Carmel and downtown Indianapolis and extend to Greenwood. IndyGo says the line would run within half of a mile of 100,000 Indiana residents and connect workers to Indiana's two largest employment clusters: downtown Indianapolis and U.S. Highway 31 in Carmel.

If approved by Congress, IndyGo plans to use the funding to begin construction of the Red Line in the spring of 2017, with hopes of finishing the first phase in 18 months. The initial stretch would run 13 miles from Broad Ripple, through downtown and reach the University of Indianapolis. The organization says the route would be nation's first battery-powered all electric bus rapid transit system.

The Red Line project is part of the regional Indy Connect planning process, which is a partnership among the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority and IndyGo. The organizations say a referendum this fall could fund other pieces of the Marion County Transit Plan, including additional rapid transit lines and significant enhancements to local bus service. Phases 2 and 3 of the Red Line would be dependent on referenda in each of the three counties.

The Municipal Corporations Committee of the City-County Council in Indianapolis is considering a proposal to issue and sell bonds of up to $18 million for IndyGo capital projects.

Terry says the line will spark economic development in three counties..
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