I’ll say this much for central planners: They never stop.
I spent most of my life in the Denver area, and I saw first hand how the planned transportation people work. After suffering a thorough repudiation to light rail in 1997, commuting planners showed up with a bucket full of “free” federal funds to build a “demonstration” project between downtown and the Five Points neighborhood. This was followed in 2000 by the “T-Rex” project that expanded I-25 south of downtown (very much needed) and included, again with “free” federal funds, a shiny new light rail system. The fact that no one rode the thing except to Broncos and Rockies games didn’t matter; the project was deemed an instant success. And having shown that light rail “works”, the planners returned to voters in 2004 and, viola!, got their massive boondoggle passed. So now light rail runs hither and yon throughout the Denver metro area, still mostly empty except for sporting events.
The same philosophy used to ram light rail down the throats of Denver commuters appears to be at play in my new home of Indianapolis. The do-gooders who want to save the planet by herding us all into mass transit are procuring – wait for it – “free” federal funds to build a bus rapid transit line from north Indy through downtown to South Indy. Yet here, as in Colorado, the vast majority of commuters drive suburb-to-suburb. Put another way, no one will ride this system save for those who already ride the bus. Indeed, among the opponents of this boondoggle are current bus riders, who would just as soon have more normal buses.
Time will tell, of course, if the camel-nose-under-the-tent strategy works as well here as it did in Denver. One obstacle is a state law that forbids light rail in the greater Indianapolis metropolitan area, but that law is under siege as the area courts Amazon. Good luck with that, folks – Amazon is not coming here, rail or not. Having witnessed the billions wasted on rail in Colorado, I sincerely hope I don’t see a repeat here. It’s not needed, it’s not wanted, and it won’t be used. Save your money, Hoosiers.
The transit planners: They absolutely will not stop…ever, until you are broke!