Thursday, February 27, 2014

Boondoggle Light Rail Back In Play

The Indiana House of Representatives under the leadership of Republicans prove once again that they are phony fiscal conservatives. The House amended the Senate's mass transit lite proposal, which would have limited the expanded mass transit system under a regional management authority to bus lines only, to restore the light rail component. The proposed light rail line from Noblesville to downtown Indianapolis would cost at least $1.75 billion and would never achieve a ridership level that would come even close to covering its nut, but the pay-to-play contractors pushing the legislation are only interested in an expanded mass transit system if there is massive public construction component that accompanies it for profiteering opportunities. Without a light rail system, there is no major public works project they require for those profit-making opportunities.

The plan still calls for levying a new local income tax on individual taxpayers to help fund the regional mass transit system, a double transit tax for Marion County taxpayers who are already paying tens of millions of dollars in property taxes annually to support IndyGo. The House earlier eliminated a corporate income tax that would require businesses to pay at least 10% of the costs of the system. The latest rendition of SB 176 has 10% of the revenue pie coming from sources other than the income tax and a 25% share that would be paid in the form of rider fares, which is totally speculative since nobody has any idea how many people would actually take advantage of an expanded mass transit system. Hoosiers love their cars, and it is highly unlikely that most suburban workers would give up their car for the bus or a train. Interestingly, the House removed Hendricks County from the proposal despite the fact that getting workers to those low-paying jobs at the warehouses out in Plainfield were supposedly one of the reasons for expanding mass transit to that area.


Anonymous said...

Why do weak, effeminate, androgynous liberals love public transportation?

Anonymous said...

So, the RINO's want to TAX & SPEND!

This idea is much like Ballard's TAX & SPEND Cricket field....the people of this city DON'T WANT it! They will not patronize it. The tax money spent shall be proven a total waste....but the developers who created them have millions, maybe two billion, of OUR TAX dollars.

Pete Boggs said...

Blight rail is economic delusion; nothing more than a "Republican" tax increase.

MikeC said...

Normal people want light rail and modernized public transportation because it is a clean, efficient, economical, and proven way of transport. It has been used since the 1800s in almost every major city. During the 2003 Hyperfix, the Fishers/Carmel to downtown express buses were very popular. I believe the Carmel line is still in use. There is a demand for a Fishers to downtown line, whether rail or BRT. I would prefer to start rail with an airport to downtown line.

It is the function of local government to provide and fund the infrastructure required to conduct commerce. IN the 1800s, canals and roads were used and state and local governments funded and built them. Ihe the 1950s, the interstate system was built by the government. IN each instance, commerce and the quality of life increased dramatically, resulting in an exponential growth of American wealth and power.

Here, Indianapolis lags way behind in providing its citizens with public transportation. There is no public transportation at all as a practical matter.

If Indianapolis is to thrive and grow, and attract more residents, it needs to pony up and get serious about providing incentives for people to leave the suburbs and move to a place with higher taxes. Modern public transport is one way to do so.

The bus system must be dramatically expanded and modernized so people can cheaply and quickly move around the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods. These areas would improve as hubs of economic development and increased values.

Using Union Station and the City Market as stations and/or hubs are perfect examples of how two historic buildings which are inert could once again become vibrant and contribute to the economic vitality of the city. Not to mention provide much needed tax revenue to the cities.

If you travel to Europe you can see how this happens albeit on a much grander scale. Station hubs are huge shopping malls. Here, development will sprout along routes and stops and stations.

For now, BRT is a good start and should be implemented yesterday. Routes can adjust and change as needed with no real cost.

Will money need to be spent? Will developers and builders get rich? Of course. That is a good thing.

People got rich building roads and bridges and interstates and airports and sea ports throughout our history. And users of those facilities still pay via taxes and sometimes fees.

Public transport is no different. We all use the roads and pay for them with taxes and fees. They don't pay for themselves. There are no toll roads in central Indiana. Same goes for public transport. Even if you never use it, you will benefit from the dramatically improved economic conditions a truly modern public transport system would bring to all of Central Indiana.

It's high time that GOP office holders, especially locally, start doing something useful like this instead of always saying NO to progress.

Anonymous said...

In Indianapolis normal people do NOT want light rail! There is no customer base for it. Normal people in central Indiana who live outside of the city also want to drive to work for the convenience of leaving when they want, practical necessity of business travel to meetings, visit clients, and engage in other normal daily functions of the workplace.

They also enjoy the fact that if delayed in leaving work, they have instantly got a mode of transportation to return home.

What would the wealthiest people in Indiana do when the rail shuts down for the night and they have been delayed at work? -The only answer is to take a taxi home.

Indianapolis is NOT Chicago. The big difference is that those who choose to live outside Indianapolis (many in the wealthiest counties in Indiana) do so for their own personal reasons. Chicago, the nearest city with public rail transit needs light rail because there is not enough space for parking, rail runs continuously and is reliable, and moves all classes of people. In short, the proposal here is NOT needed and does not have the customer base to support it.

Central Indiana does NOT want to pay taxes to fund this billion dollar project.

Anonymous said...

The donut counties don't want mass transit. Don't need it, won't use it, don't want to pay for it. Marion county quit trying to push this crap on us. This doesn't stand a chance at the polls. Will die on the vine.

Pete Boggs said...

MikeC: Since the 1800's... so back to the future? Normal? Modern?

"Infrastructure" is misapplied to what's actually lifestyle; the responsibility of thinking citizens to provide themselves.

There's no proof of adequate demand to fund this redux of Indiana's failed canal project of the 1800's...

All this hipster tripe posed as progress, is the touchy feely ephemera of contemporaneous anachronism.

Indy's not way behind- that's little brother syndrome; emotionally leveraged to promote fashion, which is not infrastructure.

If there's a market for mass transit, it will cover the cost plus profit.

Anonymous said...

Light Rail costs too much, does too little, and benefits too few. Autonomous vehicles may blow a hole right thru mass transit.

Anonymous said...

Light rail boondoggles cost too much, do too little and benefits too few. Autonomous vehicles may blow a hole right thru mass transit!

Anonymous said...


Take a look at this.

Interesting. It keeps the libscum from declaring war on the roads.

Anonymous said...

"All this hipster tripe posed as progress, is the touchy feely ephemera of contemporaneous anachronism."

Excellent composition and insight. Well said.