Federal grant to build Indy bus rapid transit line on hold

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As Indianapolis gets ready to start its first bus rapid transit line, federal money to pay for its construction is now on hold.

Indianapolis is supposed to get a $75 million federal grant to build the first phase of the Red Line, connecting Broad Ripple to the University of Indianapolis. It’s not clear when that money will become available, because Congress did not pass a 2017 budget. Instead, Congress passed a resolution to keep the government funded through April.

The resolution does not allow for new spending. Until there’s a new budget passed, IndyGo said the Red Line and 30 other projects nationwide will be waiting for federal funding.

IndyGo is still preparing to build the rapid transit line. Construction is scheduled to start in June. If Congress does not pass a budget by March, the Red Line could be delayed.

Bryan Luellen, an IndyGo spokesperson, issued a statement to 24-Hour News 8:

Indianapolis’s Red Line is one project among 31 Federal Transit Administration grants awaiting Congressional action. The Red Line has already cleared two major hurdles: FTA recommendation for funding and inclusion in the President’s budget. Programs in nearly every area of government, from agriculture to foreign affairs, are reliant on the appropriations process. The project is still on schedule and pre-construction work is underway. Outreach and stakeholder engagement continue as final construction documents are being prepared. IndyGo will not enter into contracts for construction prior to appropriation. Construction is scheduled to begin in June, but if Congress does not act by March, the project could begin to realize delays.