Petition update

IndyGo Transit Referendum By The Numbers

Oct 24, 2016 — was treated to the following IndyGo Transit facts by a thoughtful member of our online community. We believe they will help educate voters prior to the November 8th referendum.

The local-tax burden to subsidize IndyGo will increase by 127% if the November 8th referendum passes.

IndyGo claims service will increase by 70%. But they are referring to revenue hours, not area reached. If there’s no bus line that you can walk to now, there probably is not going to be one if the referendum passes.

Even after a referendum-enabled service expansion, not even 4% of Indianapolis residents will take a bus even once a year. That conclusion can be inferred from IndyGo’s own fare projections.

The societal cost of IndyGo transportation is more than 5 times that of passenger-car transportation. Between what IndyGo will charge (mostly to taxpayers), its cost to society in operating budget alone will be more than $1.47 per passenger mile. (here's the math... $108M operating budget ÷ $19.4M in fares × $1.08 per boarding ÷ 4.07 passenger miles/boarding).

The operating-budget portion of IndyGo’s 2017 societal cost will be $1.87 per passenger mile, including 2017’s capital expenditures brings societal cost to a whopping $4.16, or 14 times what we would pay for passenger-car transportation.

Despite what subsidy advocates may imply, IndyGo’s fleet emits 136% more carbon dioxide than the passenger cars it might displace—and passenger-car emissions are still improving significantly with older cars’ retirement.

IndyGo’s ridership trend suggests 38.4M passenger miles for 2017, which according to its projected fuel budget IndyGo will burn 2M gallons of diesel fuel to deliver. Despite the solar-cell array and 21 all-electric buses it already has, IndyGo will get only 19 passenger miles per gallon. At the national-average of 1.6 occupants per passenger car, it would take a 12-mpg gas guzzler car to perform that poorly.

If IPL reaches its stated fuel-mix goals, the carbon dioxide it will emit to charge the new BRT electric buses will make them equivalent to 4.7-mpg vehicles, delivering the equivalent of 27 passenger miles per gallon at IndyGo’s average occupancy, as opposed to passenger cars’ 24.2 mpg × 1.6 passengers/vehicle = 38.7 passenger miles/gallon. (And any greater occupancy they enjoy will likely come from lowering diesel-fleet occupancy, thereby increasing the diesel fleet’s emissions per passenger mile.) And don’t forget that cars emit less all the time; a Prius averages 50 mpg × 1.6 passengers/vehicle = 80 passenger miles/gallon.

Of the approximately 17 billion Indianapolis passenger miles, the 71.8 million passenger miles implied by IndyGo’s optimistic fare-revenue projections amount to only 0.4%. Even if the traffic on all interstate, U.S., and Indiana roads that pass through Indianapolis is excluded, Indianapolis transportation still ends up at something on the order of 10 billion passenger miles: IndyGo’s overall impact on congestion will remain less than 1%. What little congestion benefit IndyGo does afford in a few places is probably more than offset by its harm to others.

If the referendum passes, each of 39 median-income taxpayers who won't take the bus even once a year will have a day's pay confiscated annually to subsidize just the operating-budget for a single FedEx employee to from 34th & Moller Road to the airport. With recurring capital expenditures it may be more like 45 taxpayers. With a $2.72/hour raise FedEx could enable the same worker to have his own car to use for the commute. Because FedEx will not contribute the local subsidy will be around $3.80/hour and the subsidy from society as a whole would be about $5.20/hour.

Be sure to get out and "Vote No On IndyGo"