Red Line construction delay continues as federal funding remains in Washington

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – With funding still up in the air, IndyGo officials say they still don’t know when they’ll start construction on the Red Line.

IndyGo’s own advertising promised neighbors the first of nine meetings would provide “construction timeline and traffic detour updates”.

But people who have been following the proposed rapid transit route closely felt let down.

“This being a major update about construction doesn’t really tell us very much that’s new,” said Lee Lange, a College Avenue business owner and member of the “Stop the Red Line” organization.

IndyGo’s spokesperson confirmed the federal government hasn’t yet fully approved their $75 million grant. And for now, they won’t start construction without it.

“We anticipate that construction could start as early as March of this year,” said IndyGo Director of Public Affairs Bryan Luellen.

Before that, the start was scheduled for possibly this month and before that, FOX59 email correspondence shows last June as the groundbreaking date. Two years ago, a former IndyGo official had high hopes the Red Line would open this year.

For Lange and others opposed to the plan, continued delays of the federal funding make them even more wary of the project.

“We continue to see the plan laid out, but we don’t know when it’s all really going to happen,” said Lange. “So it’s just more confusion, actually.”

IndyGo does already have some rough timelines for how long each portion of the construction will take, even though they don’t know when the 18 months of construction will start.

While everyone waits to kickstart the Red Line, IndyGo is pushing forward with making the routes they already run faster and better.

In a few weeks, they’ll start service expansion along routes 3, 8, 10, 39 and 87, increasing frequency and adding weekend days for runs.

Red Line opponents like Lange say they’d like to see tax dollars go toward more of these improvements, instead of tearing up their thriving streets in a gamble on the future.

The Meridian-Kessler neighborhood will also see traffic patterns change around them and has been preparing for it since the Red Line was announced.

The association's Executive Director Chelsea Marburger understands Lange’s viewpoint, but thinks embracing the Red Line comes with thinking about transit in a different way.

“If we only give the service to the people that we’ve thought are only going to use it, how are you going to get new people to try or do anything differently?” asked Marburger.