Transportation

Chris Morisse Vizza

Results are mixed one year into a two-year partnership involving the state, Amtrak, a private contractor and communities served by the Hoosier State passenger train.

The state’s goal has been to improve the route, attract more riders and generate more revenue to make the four-times-a-week round-trip service between Indianapolis and Chicago more self-sufficient.

WBAA’s Chris Morisse Vizza assess the progress thus far, and whether it’s enough to win continued funding from Indiana legislators.

Chris Morisse Vizza

Access to Lafayette’s Columbian Park at South Street will significantly change next year in an effort to make the three-way intersection with Park Avenue and Scott Street safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

Assistant city engineer Bob Foley says Scott Street will be closed permanently at South Street, eliminating the awkward angled junction with South just a few feet west of Park Avenue.

“It creates confusion with two roads intercepting at such a diagonal in such proximity to each other,” he says.

Lee Coursey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/leeco/

As if there aren’t enough orange construction barrels on Indiana roads, drivers should brace for more.

Repairing roads was the priority this year when state lawmakers voted to return local income tax dollars to cities, towns and counties across the state.

How The Cash Can Be Spent

Seventy-five percent of the money must be spent on roads.

Lawmakers allowed local governments to spend the remaining quarter of the money they’re getting back on a non-road project or to put it away for future use.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

With almost half the state’s funding for the Hoosier State rail line exhausted, leaders Thursday tried to rally support for increasing the frequency of the trains – even though they have no clue how they’ll pay for it.

A special train, run by Iowa Pacific between Indianapolis and Lafayette, sought to gin up interest for, as Iowa Pacific CEO Ed Ellis put it, as many as 15 trains a day along the route.

IND Voted Top Airport For The Fourth Year Running

Apr 14, 2016
utahwildflowers / https://www.flickr.com/photos/utahwildflowers/

Passengers have voted Indianapolis International Airport the best in North America, according to the annual survey by the Airports Council International. The win marks the fourth year in a row IND's been ranked tops in the nation (and the the fifth time in six years).

Users rated 300 airports worldwide in 34 areas on things such courteousness of airport staff, cleanliness, comfort and general atmosphere.

About 10,000 people work at the airport and seven million passengers a year fly in and out of the Indianapolis Airport on 135 daily flights to 37 cities.

I-69 Construction Now 8 Months Behind Schedule

Apr 13, 2016
Vegas Thornton / https://www.flickr.com/photos/vegast/395958569

Construction on the section of I-69 that connects Bloomington and Martinsville is scheduled to continue into 2017.

Section 5 of I-69 was originally slated for completion in October of this year. Now, completion is scheduled to be complete on June 28 of next year.

Tony Carpenter is the public information coordinator for Section 5. He says the 8-month delay stems from earlier problems.

“The project didn’t actually get started until 6 months after announcement,” he says. “It started a little later, so it shifted.”

Uwe Mayer / https://www.flickr.com/photos/intermayer/

The road funding bill signed into law last week could raise your taxes, depending on where you live in Indiana.

Forty-two counties already charge a vehicle tax.

But the road funding deal gives them room to increase the tax, and for the first time, cities have the power to impose their own wheel tax.

Seventy-nine cities are large enough – from Indianapolis to Plymouth- to be eligible for the tax.

John Perlich, spokesman for Fort Wayne mayor Tom Henry, says it’s too soon to say whether Fort Wayne will pursue the taxing authority.

INDOT Hopes New I-69 Section Will Reduce Crashes

Mar 29, 2016
Brian Hefele / https://www.flickr.com/photos/brhefele/6973020335

The Indiana Department of Transportation wants to build section six of I-69 along existing State Road 37.

The recommendation comes after the agency received nearly 1,000 comments on five proposed routes.

The recommended route for I-69 section six will run through Martinsville, along State Road 37.

INDOT says that path will save 11 minutes of driving time to downtown Indianapolis. The route is also expected to cause the largest reduction in crashes among the five options INDOT considered.

Brandon Smith / IPBS

Registration fees at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will decrease for more than two million Hoosiers next year as a result of legislation Gov. Mike Pence signed into law Thursday.

Pence says his administration has been working for years to correct errors and problems at the BMV.  Those issues have generated lawsuit settlements and overcharge repayments that exceed $100 million. 

Pence says a huge step forward in solving those problems is legislation that streamlines the agency’s fee and registration system.

Brian Herzog / https://www.flickr.com/photos/herzogbr/

Gas prices have been on the rise for several weeks.

The state average in Indiana is now at $1.92 per gallon and that puts the Hoosier State right in the middle in the country -- with the 25th cheapest price.

Oil expert Trilby Lundberg says the reason prices have gone up steadily for several weeks is strictly a crude oil price issue.

“And this is pretty much penny for penny what crude oil prices have done,” Lundberg says. “Gasoline is following crude oil up.”

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