Trump says $77.5M in federal funds earmarked for ‘game-changing’ local transit project

President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Thursday that $77.5 million in federal transportation funds have been committed to Indiana for a “game-changing transit project to provide fast and frequent service to the people of Indianapolis and Lawrence.”

That amount would pay for half of the proposed IndyGo Purple Line project, which has an estimated budget of $155 million.

The 15.2-mile Purple Line route is expected to run from Lawrence to downtown, with most of the route following the current IndyGo Route 39 along 38th Street.

IndyGo said about $95 million of the overall budget will be directed toward infrastructure improvements along the route. The improvements include new pavement, new or repaired sidewalks, a new path for pedestrians and bicyclists, and new traffic signals and ADA-compliant curb ramps.

When the City-County Council approved the Purple Line in mid-May, officials said the project was expected to go out to bid in early 2021, with the route projected to open for service in 2023.

The Purple Line will serve a high-minority, low-income population in an area where many families don’t have access to a car. Daily ridership is projected to be 9,500 people.

In addition to the IndyGo funding, Trump tweeted that $100 million in U.S. Department of Transportation funds have been directed toward the South Shore Line’s West Lake Corridor project, which will extend commuter rail from the existing South Shore line in Hammond southward eight miles through Munster to Dyer. The projected cost of the project is $933 million.

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10 thoughts on “Trump says $77.5M in federal funds earmarked for ‘game-changing’ local transit project

  1. Note to editor: The Purple Line will not run “from Indianapolis to Lawrence.” That makes it sound like a one-way service. More correctly it will run “between” Lawrence and Indianapolis (specifically to the Park Street BRT station on 38th where it will then use the existing Red Line route between Park and the Downtown Transit Center).

    1. The original design had the Purple Line remaining on Meridian rather than following the Red Line over to Capitol Ave. While I think that’s appropriate especially in the beginning, when was that change made?

  2. Indianapolis at the forefront of Bus Rapid Transit in the US. After all, light rail (illegal only in Indiana) would attract greater ridership but would cost much much more. Blue Indy was a car sharing scheme not public transit. The Red Line has not been in operation for one entire year and the pandemic has significantly affected ridership and traffic and life. Transit ridership does not increase immediately but builds gradually. With every new system ridership starts high, drops then build. Still, even the lowest ridership days of the Red Line reflect higher ridership than some more expensive rail lines. Furthermore, the Red Line stations have not failed, the concrete is quite stable. Nor has the Red Line failed. Overall IndyGo ridership increased 8% last year, which placed Indianapolis with few other cities that exhibited increased in ridership. With the Purple Line, frequency improvements and the systemwide route restructure, further increases will occur. It is indeed interesting that Indianapolis is finally on the map of progress while some seek to relish keeping the city backward. That Indianapolis is getting a return of Indiana tax dollars for local transit projects is a benefit. And, no, those dollar from the transit fund must go to transit projects. So, if Indianapolis does not receive a share, those dollars go to cities and agencies that have embraced sound comprehensive regional transit networks such as Utah Transit Authority in Salt Lake. The governor need not do anything. The environmental, design, and project justification analysis has been done, that’s why the competitive transit grant was awarded. It was not an earmark or a gift, but achieved through the federal Small Starts process for which specific criteria must be met. Looking forward to a real rapid transit system as documented in the Marion County Transit plan. Why is transit such a hated issue in an urban city?

    1. Tend to agree with most of this, Derek C. I wonder how long you’ve lived here since you seem surprised at the foot-dragging on progress. It’s pretty typical of this city.

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