|Sen. Brent Waltz (R-Greenwood)|
But I digress.
Ailes focuses on the weakness of the Waltz plan, such as the lack of funding for a suggested road expansion. But Ailes overlooks the strength of Senator Waltz's proposal. Waltz recognizes that the Noblesville to Indianapolis light rail proposal in the Indy Connect plan, which is over 1/2 the cost of the plan, is of limited utility. He correctly notes that Bus Rapid Transit is much cheaper and more flexible and would service many more people.
But Ailes misses a bigger point about the Waltz plan. Sen. Waltz actually begins his plan by looking at the travel habits of people in central Indiana and tries to design a plan to accommodate those habits. He does not assume, as the Indy Connect plan does, that an overhaul of mass transit would result in a dramatic change in travel habits of Indianapolis-area commuters.
The Indy Connect plan is a "build it and they will come" plan. But as the studies show, only a tiny percentage of residents will change their commuting habits when presented with better mass transit options. Indianapolis is one of the least dense large cities in the country. Travel by automobile is easy. People aren't going to suddenly give that up. Any mass transit plan has to recognize that reality. That's why Sen. Waltz's plan should be the starting point for mass transit discussions in the next session..