IndyGo’s Purple Line plans to be unveiled in Lawrence

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Phase II of IndyGo’s proposal to knit together a Marion County Transit Plan for the future will be unveiled at the City of Lawrence Government Center Monday night at 6:00 p.m.

The Purple Line is IndyGo’s $137.6 million plan to link Fort Harrison in Lawrence with the Julia M. Carson Transit Center in downtown Indianapolis.

IndyGo wants Congress to pay for half.

“What we’re looking at is a 50/50 funding proposal for that project,” said IndyGo Spokesman  Bryan Luellen who promises that even if Congress doesn’t come through,  “we have the capacity to fully fund it locally.”

That’s because Marion County taxpayers voted last November to start taxing themselves $100 per $40,000 of income beginning October 1st to pay for an enhanced public transit system.

The Purple Line would begin its journey north of 56th St. at Ivy Tech on Fort Harrison, proceed down Post Rd. to E. 38th St where it would continue westbound to hook up with IndyGo’s anticipated Red Line at Meridian St.

From there the two lines would merge for several blocks to head downtown.

IndyGo’s federal funding request of $75 million to build the Red Line was slashed by a third in Congress this past spring and President Trump has threatened to scrap the transit grants program the bus system has yet to access to pay for half the Purple Line.

“Even if the Small Starts funding program were to go away, IndyGo has the capacity to still deliver the Purple Line, the Blue Line and local route improvements,” said Luellen. “It’s a question of timing and there might be reductions to the scope.”

Timing that could delay the Purple Line’s anticipated ribbon cutting by a year to 2021 and scope by drawing down the necessary road improvements envisioned for the northeast side route.

“This isn’t a roadway reconstruction,” said Luellenmof the Purple Line’s goal. “There are portions of 38th Street that need an entire road reconstruction. There’s drainage that doesn’t exist. There are sidewalks that don’t exist.

“If the federal funding isn’t available, then some of those larger pieces of infrastructure that the city needs, that the roadway needs, could be reduced down and it could be a transit-only project instead of a larger infrastructure project that we had hoped it could be.”

Attendees at Monday night’s public meeting, and briefings scheduled at the Meadows YMCA Tuesday night and CAFÉ on East 38th St. Wednesday night, will be shown renderings of what the proposed curbside and median bus stops would look like as well as a bewildering array of maps that indicate the various travel lane challenges motorists could face when the Purple Line buses hit the streets.

Meanwhile, IndyGo is moving forward with eminent domain proceedings to seize slivers of land from North College Avenue business owners in order to give its proposed Red Line buses and stations enough room to operate along the crowded north-south corridor.

Business owners have engaged legal counsel to exam the eminent domain proceedings and IndyGo’s compliance with federal transit grant requirements for the Red Line project.

IndyGo anticipates breaking ground on the Red Line and beginning simultaneous work on its 28 stations along the 13.5-mile long route from Broad Ripple through downtown to the University of Indianapolis this fall with completion by early 2019.

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