I’m disappointed at the IBJ’s reporting of the Red Line mass transit issue. Coverage of the City-County Council referendum vote May 9 promoted the superficial IndyGo talking points but omitted the opposition’s criticism. Where are the facts?
If the referendum passes, IndyGo will have its third taxing authority on Indianapolis residents. The one on property taxes is open-ended. When IndyGo runs inevitable deficits, property taxes will continue going up.
IndyGo’s financial projections are wildly optimistic showing a 50 percent ridership increase in the first (partial) year of operation of the Red Line. Fares will have to increase for low-income customers most dependent on mass transit. Meanwhile IndyGo generates a paltry 17 percent of revenue from fares, which will remain constant after the Red Line is operational.
Businesses on the College Avenue corridor will experience a permanent parking loss, two years of construction and customer-defections (like in San Jose). Customers will go elsewhere (north to Carmel) and businesses will fail.
The Red Line’s dedicated lanes with 60-foot stations down the middle of College will gouge a charming, thriving, historic neighborhood. Auto traffic will be squeezed to one lane each way, causing traffic to race through nearby neighborhoods. And the environmental benefits will be negligible.
The Indy Chamber’s deep pockets will be used to sway voters to vote yes on the referendum showing there’s no concern for small business and their employees. When the quaint buildings and houses along College Avenue foreclose, developers will bottom-feed, rezone and build seven-story monstrosities like what’s being built in Broad Ripple. Kiss a great neighborhood goodbye.
The IBJ should present the facts.