NewsPublic AffairsGovernment / March 27, 2014

Ballard Testifies On Impact Of Federal Funds

Sam Klemet
Ballard Testifies On Impact Of Federal Funds

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard spent Thursday in Washington telling how the city is using federal funds for trails, bike lanes and greenways.

Ballard testified in front of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

He thanked members for the federal funds that have been used on projects such as the Capital Avenue Bike Lane, Monon and Fall Creek trails and especially the eight-mile Cultural Trail ‒ which he says has been key to growing the city.

"In the few short years since it opened, the trail has attracted at least $100 million in new investment to the city," said Ballard.  "This trail and many others in cities across America demonstrate a bold new thinking toward urban transportation planning."

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) is impressed with the work happening in Indianapolis and says it’s serving as an example of how federal funds should be utilized.

"Your use of the Transportation Alternative programs to really get livable space in Indianapolis ‒ the way that you've used that to help deal with the historic trail, the greenway space ‒ to me, this is exactly what we intended when this legislation was passed," said Cardin.

Ballard was joined by representatives of six other states at the hearing.

He called on Congress to continue to use federal funds for similar projects and urged them to give local governments control of the money allocated.

"The Transportation Alternative money gives us the opportunity to go multimodal, give these young people options on ways to move.  And, frankly, the senior citizens use them quite a bit, also," said Ballard.  "We have a lot more bicycles in the city.  We have a lot more people walking on trails.  We have a lot healthier climate now, it's not where we all want it to be, but it's a lot healthier than it used to be.  So, it's been very important for us to have the money flow down in a particular way to us so that we can build the kind of city that attracts that sort of talent."