Red Line bus funding on hold

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind-- As the Hoosier state looks to improve metro area transportation in 2017, one project may be stuck in neutral. Red Line,  the all-electric rapid transit project expected to extend from Westfield to Greenwood, has a $75 million federal grant now in limbo because congress didn’t pass a 2017 federal budget.

The money would have been freed up if that budget passed, but congress instead passed a resolution that keeps the money of the 2016 budget flowing into April of next year.  The continuing resolution means no new spending will be approved until a new budget, and a new congress is squared away. Including projects like the Red Line.

“My hope is that the money stays where it is, but given that we are entering into a new congress, with a new administration, it’s difficult to say at this point,” 7th District Congressman Andre Carson said.

In a statement, an IndyGo spokesperson said:

“The project is still on schedule and pre-construction work is underway. Outreach and stakeholder engagement continue as final construction documents are being prepared.

IndyGo will not enter into contracts for construction prior to appropriation. Construction is scheduled to begin in June, but if congress does not act by March, the project could begin to realize delays."

In November, Marion county voters approved a measure to generate $56 million to improve the city’s public transportation system, part of that money would’ve helped fund the Red Line. Indiana lawmakers say they’re also looking for ways to help improve state infrastructure including a 2017 gas tax, as well as a potential road usage fee and vehicle fee.

Congressman Carson says he might be looking towards alternative means for funding, too.

“We want to exhaust every avenue and every resource we can to bring back funding to the city, to the state, to bolster our transportation apparatus," he said.

 

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