Grant could help Indy become first in nation with all-electric bus transit line

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INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 16, 2014) – A $2 million federal grant may help Indianapolis become the first city in the nation to have an all-electric bus rapid transit line.

The money will go toward the engineering and design phase of the Red Rapid Transit Line. The 28-mile “Red Line” would connect Carmel to Greenwood via downtown Indianapolis. The electric rapid transit system would run on dedicated lanes, stopping about every half-mile.

"The potential for economic development is huge along this area," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.

Passengers would board from a platform and pay before boarding at a pay station. The timeline for construction is unknown.  However, the $2 million will cover the costs of the final studies. The study is expected to take one-year.  The grant also required Greenwood, Carmel, Indianapolis and Westfield to contribute a combined $1 million.

"There is a major advantage of this transit system because of the employers that are along the route, the potential housing along the route, the schools along the route and how it connects all these different destinations," said Mayor Ballard.

As of now, money to pay for the construction of the project has not been identified.  Using tax dollars in the form of a referendum has not been ruled out.

"It's the next stage in the federal process that they require us to step through. Next  step is to make sure this project is shovel ready," said Anna Gremling, Executive Director, Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The Mayors behind the "rail on tires" system say the project could attract the best and brightest young business talent from around the country.

"If we want to compete for those young creative people coming out of college and graduate school, we've got to make sure this city and metro area is the best anywhere," said Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.