Moed transportation agenda: common sense “rethink” of I-65/I-70 plan, lifting light rail ban

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis) announced today that he will pursue a pair of what he described as “common sense” transportation improvements that will benefit residents of Marion County.

His proposals would impact the proposed reconstruction of the north and south splits of Interstates 65 and 70 (House Bill 1364) and lift the ban on light rail construction in Marion and six other counties (House Bill 1365).

“This is a chance to make common sense changes on issues that will affect the long-term transportation needs of Marion County and Central Indiana,” Moed said. “We must look beyond the present, and begin to consider what will be the needs for future generations, particularly as it ties in with economic growth, job creation, and increased quality of life in our neighborhoods.”

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is considering options to rebuild the north split that provide for improvements along the current path of the roadway and will eventually begin planning and construction on the south split. 

“Thankfully, INDOT has for now moved from original plans that would have severely damaged quality of life in neighborhoods by adding more lanes and included retaining walls that would have stretched as high as 25 feet along the road,” Moed said. “House Bill 1364 would ensure that those ideas will not be part of a final construction plan, and it would require that INDOT demonstrate to both lawmakers on the Interim Study Committee on Roads and Transportation and the governor that their plan will not harm economic development and quality of life in neighborhoods.

“I want to be clear, bridges in disrepair need to be made structurally sound.  However, we want to make sure this project places a priority on making strong connections between neighborhoods and areas of commerce,” he continued. “Many of these neighborhoods are just recovering from being ripped apart by the interstates over 50 years ago.  Things like above grade walls and additional lanes will achieve the opposite effect, and these things do not need to be part of the final project.”

Moed’s plan to lift the light rail ban was first proposed in 2018. When announced, it was considered by local officials as a key component in efforts to attract the new Amazon headquarters. Despite passing in the House 95-5, opposition in the Indiana Senate helped derail the light rail proposal, and Amazon decided to locate the new facilities elsewhere.

“House Bill 1365 doesn’t say Indianapolis will build a light rail system,” Moed said. “It simply says our city can have the option of pursuing it. It makes no sense to me to have a ban in place in this day and age. Give the people who govern those areas where light rail has a chance to improve transportation the opportunity to decide for themselves if they want it as a tool to grow jobs and economic development.”

Joining Moed as co-authors of House Bill 1364 are State Reps. Dan Forestal and Gregory W. Porter (both D-Indianapolis). Co-authors on House Bill 1365 are Forestal and State Reps. Gerald Torr (R-Carmel) and Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove).

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