It was announced in late December to much fanfare, but now Indy's new transit plan is drawing fire as a bloated and wasteful proposal that will do little to alleviate gridlock or revitalize the urban core of Indiana's largest city.
The latest organization to question the $1.3 billion proposed system is the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington. In an article that first appeared in the Indiana Policy Review last week, Cato's Randal O'Toole acknowledges that metro Indianapolis faces transit challenges, but he says that the Central Indiana Transit Task Force's much-ballyhooed plan is not the answer. He is especially concerned that so much of the budgeted money would go towards one rail line that services a limited number of commuters.
O'Toole's concerns are valid. Indianapolis has not developed the type of transit culture that has led to the creation of successful systems in cities like Denver and Portland. That's hard work and it won't happen here without years of concerted effort. For a fraction of the cost of the current plan, local leaders could develop a reliable bus system that serves the entire metro area. That would be a good first step towards changing local perceptions regarding transit.
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