This post is really an update of the one we wrote earlier today about the Red Line. Our effort to keep it brief and readable omitted some very pertinent financial information.
Our only reference to local financial responsibility was to the potential income tax increase down the road - so to speak. We failed to mention local participation in this $95 million first phase of the Red Line.
For that purpose, IndyGo will toss in $21 million, an unstated share of which will be "...dollars from the Downtown tax increment financing district..."
Please permit us a small review of a basic concept. The original idea of the TIF district - and we emphasize the word "district" - was that government financial intervention in a project was justified in that the project would ultimately benefit surrounding properties, and that benefit should, in the long run, contribute to an increase in ensuing tax revenues from all the properties in the district.
The most important word in the whole scheme is "district" - implying, and legally meant to mean, a specific geographic area. In Indianapolis that restrictive language is more and more ignored. Between establishment of new districts, expansion of existing ones and shoveling funds into very questionable items of "economic growth," in practice, a very large part of Marion County is already a single TIF district.
A recent study out of Ball State University indicates millions of local property tax dollars have been siphoned away from local governmental functions by these runaway "growth" policies.
It is this malevolent evolution that has led to the proposed use of these "downtown" funds - among other things - for the construction of traffic hazards in the center of highly traveled city streets, called "bus stop platforms."
It is to be sincerely hoped that the "development" promised by proponents along this super-hyped bus line will be something more than a few fast-serve coffee shops for the convenience of waiting morning riders.