IndyGo shares status update on Blue Line

Aug. 25, 2022
The latest cost estimates for the project are more than $500 million due to inflation and a change in design standards and costs for drainage infrastructure.

During the IndyGo Board of Directors meeting Aug. 24, the board discussed the status of the agency’s upcoming Blue Line bus rapid transit (BRT) route.   

IndyGo staff informed the board they need more time to evaluate the current design of the Blue Line due to increased pricing, inflation and change in stormwater requirements. The original cost estimate for the project in 2019, pre-COVID-19 when the Blue Line was at 30 percent design, was $220 million.  The latest cost estimates for the project are more than $500 million. The significant price increase is due to inflation and a change in design standards and costs for drainage infrastructure.   

The updated infrastructure designs to the Blue Line were adjusted to meet compliance standards by Citizens Energy Group (CEG) and the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW). IndyGo is working with CEG and DPW to evaluate those requirements and the impact on the Blue Line. 

The updated numbers were calculated based on the 60 percent design, and considered recent IndyGo, DPW and INDOT bid tabulations to get the most accurate costs for the current economic situation. The highest cost components of the new Blue Line are electric buses, drainage and inflation. The bus cost estimate is around $128 million for 55 battery electric buses. The Blue Line is showing an estimated 42 percent of the project cost is drainage infrastructure, increased significantly from the 30 percent design cost because of changes in design standards and assumptions. Inflation adds an additional $60 million to the current cost.  

“IndyGo is committed to completing a transit project along Washington Street that delivers more efficient, accessible and rapid service to the community and works to implement the Marion County Transit Plan,” said IndyGo President and CEO Inez Evans. “Taking some time to review alternatives before moving forward allows us to present the best project for the community and continue to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”  

In July, IndyGo hosted a value engineering workshop with some of the industry’s top professionals in transit, infrastructure and construction management. Those professionals included representatives from transit agencies in Jacksonville, Denver, Los Angeles and the Federal Transportation Administration. The results of that evaluation offered some recommendations needed to further analyze the best way to move forward. 

IndyGo will continue to work with partners and all parties involved. Next steps include taking some time to work with all design partners, the city of Indianapolis, CEG and the community to determine the best alternatives are available to complete a rapid transit project.