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Bus riders are glad Indiana lawmakers let IndyGo Blue Line move ahead

Blue Line project can move forward – News 8 at 10

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The fate of the IndyGo Blue Line was in doubt after Indiana lawmakers in January advanced a bill that would have effectively killed the city’s bus rapid-transit project.

Riders were glad to hear Thursday that the bus project will move forward.

Lawmakers voted to pause the construction in January. But, House Speaker Todd Huston on Thursday announced, Senate Bill 52 will not move forward this legislative session. The Republican from Fishers said in a news release that IndyGo and state lawmakers came to a compromise.

Some Irvington area business owners in October had expressed fears the Blue Line would drive away customers.

Now, the Blue Line project will have to allow for two lanes of general eastbound and westbound traffic wherever possible on Washington Street.

Riders said the bus rapid-transit projects — one is done; another is in progress; and the Blue Line remains in the planning phase — are necessary to keep the city competitive.

“If we want to be a major metropolitan area and compete with other big cities comparable to us in the Midwest, we need to have a public transportation system,” Scout Trout said. “They want to be the sports capital of the Midwest; well, you need to get people around.”

Other riders want lawmakers to know they depend on the buses, and they want rapid transit and other transportation that’s more efficient.

“I do not have a car,” Laura Greenfield said. “I am a senior citizen and I would like to keep public transportation available because I do work and I like to get to work on time. The Red Line is not as close to my house as some of those other lines, but those other lines are so undependable.”

Jamyia Cooper said of the existing rapid transit bus line, “It helps because I only have to ride one bus and I would usually have to ride multiple (buses) to get to my job, so it would be safer if I rode one bus.”

Many riders as well as advocates for mass transit want state lawmakers to stay out of projects that only affect Indianapolis.

“I think they need to stop picking on Indianapolis and realize we’re an important economic generator for this state and let us flourish,” Jeff Jones said. “Quit holding us back.”

IndyGo and the city’s Democrat mayor, Joe Hogsett, thanked the House speaker following the decision.