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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Light rail in Indy?

The familiar call of light rail has appeared on the Indianapolis scene. This proposal suggests a line from Fishers to downtown, then to Greenwood in the south. Another line would head from the airport to downtown.

It's not a lot of coverage, and it would be expensive:

Officials estimate the rail system and expanded bus service would cost an estimated $1.2 billion to build and another $90 million to $100 million a year to operate. Both could be funded through a sales tax increase of 0.35 percentage point to 0.5 percentage point, as well as fares from the system.


At this point, few people would really benefit from this transit option. The I-69 corridor may be the busiest, but it's not gridlock on the level of New York City. I wouldn't want the light rail to be built before the demand is demonstrated. And how to do that? Adopt part of the proposal: the expanded express bus service. If that fails? It's easier to recover the investment from buses than an entire light rail system.

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