Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Tight Anderson Economic Development Funds and Commuter Rail

A couple of items that I delayed in publishing.

Anderson economic development funds tight:
"Anderson officials fear they will lose an economic development prospect because tax constraints imposed by the Legislature have crimped the amount of incentives the city can offer.

Mayor Kris Okomon mentioned the shortfall in a recent political meeting, saying the city might lose the competition for a foreign alternative energy company.

Linda Dawson, who leads economic development for Anderson, said the city needs to boosts its incentive package by about 20 percent to be competitive.

However, caps on taxes that can be levied by cities and towns have forced Anderson to tighten the package.

'It's either firefighters, police service, or bring a new company in, Dawson said. 'It becomes a prioritizing nightmare.'"

Panel approves Indianapolis commuter rail plan:
"A regional transit organization has voted in favor of a $160 million plan to establish a 19-mile commuter rail line between Noblesville and downtown Indianapolis.

The Indiana Regional Transportation Council voted unanimously today for the proposal to use diesel engines for a commuter line along an old Nickel Plate railroad between the northern suburb and Union Station downtown.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization manager Mike Dearing says the vote is just one of several hurdles before the rail line becomes a reality.

There's still no funding for the project, but proponents of the transit line hope to get some funding nailed down in the 2009 state legislative session. A funding mechanism that won broad support last session before ultimately failing will be revived in some form in the session that starts in January. A federally mandated environmental study also must be conducted, and locations must be found for five to six stations for the rail line.

In spite of the hurdles that remain, officials say the rail line could be running as soon as 2012."

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