I was interviewed by Chris O'Malley of the Indianapolis Business Journal earlier this morning. The subject was light rail and the possible project on the old Nickel Plate corridor that roughly parallels Allisonville Rd from Fishers to the Fair Grounds.
I've been making the case against the light rail for a few years now. Here are the bullet points:
- This project would cost a billion dollars without any overruns.
- A billion dollars gets about 4% of cars of I-69, on its best days, per MPO.
- IndyGo has an operating loss of nearly 80%, made up for by subsidies. Why extend this failure?
- A single corridor is hardly a network. How do you get around once de-trained?
- Indy is not a walking city, nor has the density where light rail works, as in NYC.
- Light rail isn't even the best use of the corridor. A trail & greenway would be.
- Light rail decreases adjacent property values while trails increase it.
- The people owning properties adjacent to the corridor haven't been asked what they want.
Mr. O'Malley indicated that the article would run in July. I can't wait to see it. Mainly, a lot of ranking Republicans- State Senator Luke Kenley, Hamilton County Commissioner Christine Altman, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, and Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear- are in favor of this boondoggle, and there has been very little questioning of the plan. The numbers are atrocious, and yet, there's the GOP going rah-rah. This is why Libertarians are firm that the Republican Party has nothing to do with fiscal conservatism.
Indianapolis once had a network of rails for commuters. It closed up shop in 1952, because it was losing money, even with a complete network. Why not open a bus line along this route first and see if it can hold its own? It would cost so much less than a billion.