I have no magic proposal for road funding. To be honest, I believe most people who look at the budget and recognize there is no money to allocate in the existing budget for road and bridge repair, sidewalks, and trails.
What projects are happening are the result of bond debt, IndyGo’s rapid transit lines (using mostly federal funds plus local tax incentives. About a third of the Red Line funding is for street, utility, and sidewalk repair), and existing line-item budgeting.
The Hogsett Administration has proposed bringing more services in-house, like street sweeping. I’m not convinced that’s a good answer or not. Someone in the Hudnut Administration thought it would be cheaper and more efficient to outsource it, so someone’s not learning from history as to why.
Regardless, the City budget maintains emergency upkeep on roads at this point. Barring major development, my stance is simple:
- No more new roads when we can’t maintain what we already have.
- Walkways Indy and Plan 2020 have the best data on where sidewalks and other infrastructure is needed, not where it’s “most desired”.
- Bike infrastructure is far cheaper than entire streets. Where it makes sense to add new trails and bikeways, we should consider those options.
- Likewise, we should consider all options that improve the mobility of people. If that means cars, fine. If that means more pedestrians or bikes can get through an area faster, fine.
- There should be no war on bikes no more than there should be a war on cars or any other kind of transportation. If it’s sustainable, efficient, and allows for increased mobility of people and freight, that’s the smartest option.
- Scooters are fine.
Ultimately, smart cities give people options. That includes options in how people work and live and how they get around town. If that’s a mix of private vehicles and walking, or just a car, or just a bike, or just your feet — that’s a choice people can and ought to be able to make.