...in Florida than we are? Reference is to the decision by the governor of Florida to turn down the idiotic offering from Washington to stick a high speed rail line parallel to an existing interstate highway with no apparent study as to probable usage.
Noblesville is only about 20 miles away from downtown Indianapolis, and hopefully, local folks are not talking about a "bullet train" concept. But the ideas are still similar.
Tampa and Orlando are cities of about equal size with populations in the range of 300,000. We have absolutely no idea of the volume of commercial traffic between them. But we feel pretty certain that neither city considers itself as a suburb of the other with major parts of the population living in one and having regular, daily employment in the other. There has been no hint that the proposal would be a "commuter" run.
The 2 cities are about 80 miles apart and directly connected by Interstate 4. Florida’s governor says he is not about to assume liability for future operating costs when folks decide an 80-mile drive isn’t so bad when the car is still available upon arrival - as opposed to cab or bus. We suspect that for most of the year, such a drive would be with the windows open or the air conditioner on.
What about commuter train usage here when the terminal is 8-10 blocks from the rider’s office? With snow on the sidewalks? Or the humidity is 10% and the wind chill is 5 above zero? Or the humidity is 80% and the temperature is 90 degrees? And there is a parking garage within a block or 2 of the office? (Well, the mayor might make that option a little pricey!)
Most people seem to have recognized that government spending has reached dangerous levels. That is true of federal, state and local levels. Has not the time come for serious study and prioritization of use of tax dollars? Even in the field of transportation, for instance, would not infrastructure - and the budget - be better served by repairing deteriorating bridges and roads used by thousands more citizens than a fast, fancy train?
Locally, will not a vastly improved IndyGo serve a wider purpose than a rail line running alongside I-69? And we might as well get really picky. Do we need to add even a minuscule $6 million to federal spending in order to turn Georgia Street into a tented arcade for the benefit of (how many?) folks who might want to stroll from the football field to the basketball court?
It is well past time for the taxpayer to say, "Justify the need or don’t spend the money." Locally, we’re at a real disadvantage. We can’t print money. When the politician commits to expenditures, there’s only one source for the funds. So far, no one’s invented a fool-proof bar to the government pickpocket.