INDIANAPOLIS, May 14, 2015 – Indianapolis has been selected by two leading U.S. transportation think tank and advocacy groups as one of three regions with practical plans and positive momentum for expanding public transit. Earlier this year, Transportation for America and TransitCenter chose Indianapolis, Nashville and Raleigh to participate in its first Transportation Innovation Academy. This week the Academy brings national experts to Indy to meet with local business, civic and public sector leaders.
The Transportation Innovation Academy focuses on building local leadership and expertise in communities that are exploring new transit options. Participants from the three regions will access the latest research and best practices on public transportation during the year-long Academy, while sharing common experiences, challenges and solutions from their respective local efforts to strengthen transit.
As the voice of the region’s business community, the Indy Chamber is an active participant in the Transportation Innovation Academy. The Indy Connect transit plan has earned broad support among area employers for its significant economic development, workforce and neighborhood revitalization potential.
“The private sector has been an early and aggressive advocate for regional transit in Indianapolis,” said Mark Fisher, Vice President of Government Relations for the Indy Chamber, an Indy representative to the Innovation Academy. “Working with organizations like Transportation for America adds a broader perspective, and strengthens our resolve – other regions are using transit to attract talent and investment, connect workers to jobs and spark new development. We must move forward or we will continue to fall behind.”
This week’s events began with a welcome reception and tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday, and continue through Friday. Presentations throughout the week will focus on land use and planning for growth along transit corridors, public education and advocacy strategies for promoting transit, management and budgeting strategies for regional transit authorities and more.
“We’re excited to be in Indianapolis to host this session of the Transportation Innovation Academy,” said James Corless, Director of Transportation for America, who offered opening remarks at today’s session. “This is a dynamic, resourceful community and we’re very optimistic about your prospects for strengthening transit.
“One of our key lessons for local leaders is the importance of a shared vision,” Corless continued. “Indianapolis starts with great advantages – a business community that sees the return on investment from transit, a proven track record of public-private collaboration, and well-earned confidence in the community’s ability to take on ambitious projects. The energy and enthusiasm is here; we want to be a resource to help you go further, faster.”
The Transportation Innovation Academy comes to Indianapolis just weeks after a visit from U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, as city officials prepare to apply for federal grants for construction of the 28-mile Red Line bus rapid transit route that will ultimately run from Westfield to Greenwood through Indianapolis and Carmel. The Red Line is one leg of the broader Indy Connect transit plan, which is expected to be on the ballot for voter approval in Marion and Hamilton Counties in 2016.
“There really couldn’t be a better time for the Transportation Innovation Academy to come to Indianapolis,” added Molly Chavers, who leads IndyHub, a resource and advocacy group for Indy's 20-/30-somethings, and participates in the Academy. “Based on our own research we know that reliable and attractive mass transit is extremely important to keeping Indianapolis competitive for top talent. We’re on the verge of taking another big step forward as a region, and we have to embrace every opportunity to be better-informed and better-prepared to make the case for transit. ”
“We’re eager to see Indianapolis’ continued leadership in developing a forward-thinking transit system that will benefit businesses and people alike,” said David Bragdon, executive director of TransitCenter. “With business groups like the Indy Chamber leading the charge, we believe Indianapolis can create a transit plan that increases mobility while also spurring new economic development in the city.”
Learn more about Transportation for America and TransitCenter's Transportation Innovation Academy here, and the Indy Chamber’s regional transit agenda and other priorities here.
About Indy Chamber
The Indy Chamber is the voice of progress and improvement for the Indianapolis region's business community. With membership of nearly 2,300 businesses representing 230,000 employees in the Indianapolis region, the Indy Chamber is leading the effort to strengthen the business climate, improve the state of education, revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the region's workforce. For more information about the Indy Chamber, visit IndyChamber.com.
Jessica Higdon, Indy Chamber, 317-464-2232 or
Chris Watts, CVR Public Relations, 317-514-3184 or