Today Mayor Ballard has come out saying that "Now is the time" we put forth a mass transit plan in Indianapolis. There are a small group of people pushing for this, politicians, politicians in REALTOR clothing, and politicians in downtown development clothing. They all want to rush something through during their election cycle so they can be the ones who "gave" Indianapolis this great "gift." Or better said, give them the gift that just keeps on taking.
Indianapolis does not need an enhanced mass transit system right now, in fact it is likely at least twenty years from that need. Our current one is anything but well utilized, or self-sustaining. We would be spending 1.3 billion dollars shared between us and the Federal Government, who by the way is also us, to purchase something we don't yet need, and likely will barely use. Then we will be given the opportunity to pay millions more per year in operating losses over the next twenty years hoping that it will be mostly covering its own costs by then. After twenty years, how much of that initial infrastructure purchase will be required to replace? How much will that be?
After a brutal fight to cut our property taxes, we are being asked to allow them to be raised so we can see a train running through town several times a day. Has any thought been given to the traffic jams that it will cause at every intersection from the North side to Downtown to allow the trains to go by all day? Has any thought been given to the cost in human lives and property damage to the danger of these trains running all day in a densely populated area? What consideration has been given to the property values and quality of life issues, such as noise, dirt, and danger that will be a result of the trains running up and down along homes along the way?
I agree we should be looking into long-term solutions, but by taking a long-term approach. We have the benefit of time, let's use it, rather than jumping in as if we are backed into a corner, let's take our time, and explore options. If we feel we have a good solution, if we feel we are well served to start procuring land and property, then start that process.
However, right now it seems more that a group of politicians in all walks of life, are just wanting to have their pictures taken cutting the ribbon with no thought of the massive losses of dollars and frankly quality of life for the city in the near term.