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Blue Indy program still creating friction

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Members of the City-County Council aren’t giving up their criticism of the Blue Indy car program.

Democrats are not upset with the electric cars as much as they are with the contract that brought the cars to Indianapolis.

Fred Biesecker, the general counsel for the council, said the contract is “not legal because the mayor exceeded his authority.”  He also said “this needs to be a joint effort by the mayor and the council in collaboration with Blue Indy. What it does not need to be is overreaching by the mayor, alone.”

Mayor Ballard has said from the beginning Blue Indy is “good for the city.” It puts Indianapolis in the company of other cities with electric car sharing programs — such as London and Paris.

Scott Prince, the general manager of Blue Indy, told 24-Hour News 8 the Indianapolis program “will be the first showcase launch in America.”

He said the company expects to have 500 cars across 190 charging stations.

“We’ll be a really nice option for a lot of folks,” Prince said.

The distribution of those charging stations is causing friction in some neighborhoods. The Blue Indy cars take parking spaces that could be used by people living in those neighborhoods.

Prince attributes the clash with the council to Blue Indy being “new – and I think the communication that we’re pursuing now is really good.” He also promises to address the parking concerns.

“We’re being very thorough with our parking analysis,” he said. “Then, we’re including all sorts of folks so that they can have their input on where these sites are going.”

Mayor Ballard told 24-Hour News 8 recently he knows people who “have already given up their cars in anticipation of Blue Indy. I know of people that want to live next to a Blue Indy station site so maybe they don’t have to buy that second car. There’s that going on right now.”

The mayor said Blue Indy is necessary because “our public transportation is not very good in this city, as everybody knows. So this kind of helps fill a gap, particularly for students and senior citizens. So, I think it’s going to be very helpful.”

Councillor Stephen Clay, a Democrat, said this goes in “the Hall of Fame of bad ideas birthed by this administration.”

Republican Ben Hunter said critics should be careful about trying to kill a program such as Blue Indy. He said it is the kind of service that attracts millennials to the city which helps build the tax base and keeps Indianapolis moving forward.