Fed Grant Could Delay Transit Start

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With a just-passed Marion County income tax increase in hand, officials say construction on a massive expansion of the Indianapolis public transit system could begin soon. Exactly when ground will be broken for the Red Line, a rapid bus line connecting Broad Ripple with the University of Indianapolis, remains in question. IndyGo is awaiting final approval of a $75 million federal Small Starts grant to fund the majority of the Red Line. Without it, Chief Executive Officer Mike Terry says the project would be pushed back to next year. "It's in the budget and we're just waiting for Congress to appropriate," said Terry, in an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television.

Terry says while the Red Line and two other rapid bus lines are keys to the plan, the "huge benefit" will be new local service designed to "serve the masses."

On February 27, in what transit supporters describe as a historic vote, the Indianapolis City County Council approved a 0.25 percent income tax hike for Marion County residents to help pay for the transit plan, which includes three all-electric, rapid bus lines, new buses, increased route frequency and improvements around stops aimed at accessibility.

In addition to a hoped-for groundbreaking for the Red Line, Terry says requests for proposals for architectural and engineering work on the Purple Line have been issued. That rapid bus line would run from 38th and Meridian Streets to Fort Harrison in Lawrence.

Transit officials would like to submit an application for a federal Small Starts grant in the fall to pay for 50 percent of the Purple Line, said Terry.

Watch the full interview with Mike Terry:

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