Private attention to mass transit

January 29, 2009
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For another example of why Indianapolis works better than a lot of other places, read IBJ reporter Chris Oâ??Malleyâ??s story about yet another look at mass transit in central Indiana.

Mass transit has been studied to death even as drivers spend more and more time stuck in traffic. The existing system, if it can be called that, amounts to little more than a few bus routes.

Now the corporate side of the regionâ??s vaunted public-private partnership is stepping in. Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, the chief executives who have launched the life sciences initiative among other economic development projects, is joining the Indianapolis chamber and other groups to look at the issue from a cost-benefit perspective. The task force is being led by Al Hubbard, a Harvard MBA who was an economic adviser to former President George W. Bush.

The study planned by the new Central Indiana Transit Task Force proposes to bring a hard-headed, spreadsheet-driven approach to mass transit that makes economic sense. And organizers suggest the result wonâ??t necessarily be recommendations for more roads.

Thatâ??s because the study will take into account the increasingly expensive cushions companies build into delivery schedules and commuters need to get to work.

The study also will look to tie in Lafayette, Bloomington and Muncie, all of which are important to continued development of the region.

What are your thoughts? Will this increased interest from the private sector finally result in a workable mass transit system?
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  • What I do not understand is why Indianapolis has dramatically less federal dollars supporting INDYGO. This has been a problem for nearly half a century! Our legislators have failed to support INDYGO since Lugar got into the senate. Other cities have significantly more federal funding. Why does Indianapolis fail to attract as many federal dollars as other major cities and what can be done about it?

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

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