Over the last 4 years, I have visited many peer cities. Some bigger than Indy, some smaller. My quest has been to document transit systems, how they work, why they work well, and how all of this could apply to Indianapolis and making it a better city to live in. Using this knowledge for civic activism has driven me weary to the point of late nights, meetings, etc and my wife telling me that someday I need to get a job doing this. While that would be excellent, for the time being I remain a dedicated citizen activist. To be sure, investment in urban transit is expensive and is a risky bet if not done properly. However, when successful, the entire transportation philosophy of a city and region can be affected positively, when compared next to investment in roadways. Competition for funds is fierce with roadways accumulating the vast majority of funds through gasoline taxes or other dedicated funding sources; transit is often left to either raising taxes through referendum, special taxing districts, etc.
So, you can imagine the disdain that brewed in my head when I read the recent headline, “Indiana to pay $255 million for freeway tunnel in Kentucky” referring of course, to the punching bag that is the Ohio River Bridgesproject in the Louisville metro area. At issue, is the over $1.5 billion being spent on this project by Indiana, and more specifically, $255 million that Indiana is paying to construct a tunnel in Kentucky; literally south of the border.