Thursday, June 13, 2013

Federal Tax Dollars At Work: Indy Gets $1 Million To Give Away To Wisconsin Company For Bike Rental Business

What about all those sequester cuts that's crimping the spending style of the federal government? Indianapolis received a $1 million grant from the federal government that our Board of Public Works awarded to a Wisconsin company to operate a bike rental service on the Cultural Trail. From the IBJ:
The Indianapolis Board of Public Works awarded $1 million in federal funds to B-Cycle LLC, a Wisconsin company that will bring its bike-rental service to the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.
The public works board on Wednesday afternoon awarded the contract, which allows B-Cycle to spend up to $1.5 million to install its electronic stations and purchase bikes. Any spending beyond the federal funds will be covered by the Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc., a private not-for-profit entity that's supposed to raise money for maintaining the eight-mile path.
The bike-rental program will be the responsibility of ICT Inc., which will collaborate with Bollore Group, a French company that plans to invest $35 million in a car-sharing service in Indianapolis.
A request for proposals issued by ICT and the city in December 2011 anticipated 24 bike-sharing stations with 300 bikes. ICT will hold two public meetings to take input on exact locations. The meetings will be from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on June 27 and from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on July 10. Both meetings will be at The Platform, 202 E. Market St. Comments will also be collected at, beginning on June 27.
B-Cycle allows users to buy short-term and long-term memberships online or 24-hour passes at its stations. The stations operate with electronic locks, and the bikes can be released with a swipe of a pass card or through the adjoining payment kiosk.
Seriously? We're spending federal tax dollars on bike rentals? This is just another example of how ignorant the people we entrust to spend our government tax dollars are. This type of spending should have been the first cuts made when the sequester law took place. We supposedly lack funds to operate the control towers at airports, but we have money to hand over to private businesses to start up new bike rental companies. Mayor Greg Ballard probably thinks this is a wonderful investment of public dollars. Have fun getting mugged riding that rental bike on the Cultural Trail because of fewer police officers patrolling due to budget cuts.


Pete Boggs said...

Nostalgically back to the future; it's time to dust off those great plans for canal expansion & flat boats....

Unigov said...

Federal money has come to be viewed as "free", something Mr Obama (like his predecessor) encourages by his actions.

New roundabouts in Carmel will be 100% federally funded, under the guise of energy savings. Most of the capital cost of the proposed mass transit boondoggle would come from the federal government.

The mindset of both political parties is that the US should borrow money, stimulate the economy, repeat ad infinitum. For the right, this is seen as pro-business, and therefore Good And Just. For the left, this is seen as wealth redistribution, and therefore Good And Just.

Unknown said...

Perhaps the people who only visit this city is because they rent bicycles are expected to ride really, really fast to escape being robbed, mugged, or murdered.
Too bad the city no longer thinks that police officers might help the problem.

Indy Rob said...

Hmm, at a time when some states are talking about a hybrid tax or a bicycle tax, since these vehicles do not pay "enough" in fuel taxes, we have the federal government funding a improvement in the roads, that if effective, will decrease the amount raised in fuel taxes.

And the other thing to point out about this bicycle rental business, is that the city is probably going to be supplying the remaining half million (annually) that the feds are not supplying.

CircleCityScribe said...

Bike rental going to a Wisconsin firm, towing going to a California firm, which hired a lobbyist that was the Mayor's Chief of Staff former employer.

It seems like common sense would say these are local issues, best handled by a local business...

-But would a local business have the deep pockets to "grease the wheels of The Mayor's Office"? A close review of the ethics filings and connections by a special investigator may be in order.

Flogger said...

Well back in the old days a person might decide that to make a buck and provide a service, they could rent bikes. They would have paid a sales tax, with no government expenditure.

Today, we need Federal Grants to accomplish the same thing, going into the pockets of everyone except the tax payers.

We hear a lot about how we cannot afford Social Security or Medicare I suppose that is because these programs actually benefit citizens i.e., real human beings.