Salt Lake City mass transit plan a model for Indianapolis
By Kevin Rader, WTHR political reporter - bio | email
Lane Beattie helped create Salt Lake City's mass transit system.
How you get to and from work could change dramatically in coming years.
No one knows what the future of transit in Indiana will look like, but Eyewitness News found how it is working successfully elsewhere.
It is hard to look at what is and see what could be. As president of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce Lane Beattie understands that and says city buses aren't enough.
"It really isn't. What happens is, we are now seeing, for the first time, transit-oriented development along areas you would have thought would never be developed," Beattie said.
Salt Lake City made the investment to mass transit back in the 1990s and now, according to Beattie, more than half of the downtown employees regularly use mass transit. In fact, four new rail lines are on the verge of coming online, including one running from the airport which will open next month.
Now, Beattie says he is glad he made the decision he did to support the effort when he served in the Utah State Senate, but he also understands the arguments - How the transit can't pay for itself and how the rest of the state stands to benefit.
"Short-sightedness and, right now, our transit system has taken 1 1/2 lanes off of our freeways. The impact of that impacts every community in the state of Utah," Beattie said.
Beattie says mass transportation helped the city make a very different transition to one of the top cities for young professionals in America.
"When they found out we had this transit system, it made a huge difference. We are now the second largest Goldman Sachs office in the Northern Hemisphere and one of the reasons? Mass transit," he said.
While a mass transit system doesn't have to be built now, Beattie says he believes Indianapolis will have to build it sometime and the longer you wait, the more it will cost taxpayers.
Legislation regarding mass transit has passed out of the Indiana House and is now awaiting a hearing in the Senate.