By Anna Skinner
Attempts to begin construction on the Red Line have begun, as an application was recently submitted for a small starts grant. The grant would cover up to 80 percent of the construction costs for Phase I of the Red Line project, which begins at 66th Street in Broad Ripple and extends south toward the University of Indianapolis.
The small starts grant is part of a federal grant program that consists of a competitive pool with different projects, bus rapid transit being one of the qualified programs.
“These grant programs have to get funded in the overall national budget, they have been very popular programs, and if we don’t get the grant for Phase I, we are poised to reapply for the same grant,” said Bryan Luellen, director of public affairs for IndyGo.
Once Phase I begins construction, Phase II will begin development. Phase II of the Red Line extends further north, from 66th Street in Indianapolis up through Carmel and Westfield, ending at Grand Park.
“When the Red Line is completely constructed, it will connect approximately 170,000 jobs which is a huge opportunity for getting people access to work, and the other important component is economic development,” Luellen said. “So at these transit stations you will see private investment and new development.”
Yet Phase II through Westfield cannot begin until Phase I is funded. News of whether the grant was given or not will come in April.
“The Red Line is one of the best ways for central Indiana communities to band together to realize our regional economic development potential,” Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said. “With this development in public transportation, mobility for our residents and visitors will be greatly improved.”