I was surprised but uplifted to read your editorial opposing the mass transit bill as written.
HB 1011 is a financial boondoggle waiting to happen. There are so many things wrong with the idea it is difficult to pick where to start.
First, the concept of “letting the people decide” is heartwarming but a recipe for disaster. The head of the group pushing the bill, Ron Giffords, has been quoted his group is poised to spend “millions” in PR/advertising to push passage of the referendum once the bill passes. There will not be a fair evaluation by the public of the pros/cons of the project, only hope and positive change will be highlighted.
Second, I am in full support of allowing IndyGo to expand its routes and offer additional capacity to better gauge its popularity and need. However, giving full taxing authority to a newly appointed board that will embark on an unproven design with extreme opportunity for cost overruns and the penchant for construction delays should be defeated.
No light rail system has been built in the last 50 years on time, on budget or met projected ridership goals. It is wrong to compare this amenity to schools or other infrastructure projects which have definite needs and proven usage.
The project including light rail is being sold on the assumption of receiving $600-plus million in Federal funds. It is highly doubtful and unrealistic to believe the Federal government can come up with these funds, in light of its fiscal woes. The Indianapolis region does not have the density to warrant light rail and future growth projections touted for Hamilton County will not mirror what happened in the 1980-2010 timeframe. We will grow but not at such a frenetic pace as before.
Finally, construction of the light rail portion will require dozens of current usable streets and intersections be torn up for years before any improvement is seen. It would be better to start incrementally with expanded IndyGo service and new modern busses with Wi-Fi to see the interest and usage.
At-Large Member of the Hamilton County Council