Bike Trails Task Force considers connecting IN bike paths

(Indiana Statehouse Newsroom) - Indiana is a step closer to connecting the state's bike paths. It's something the state's Bike Trails Task Force started working on earlier this year.

Evan Ballard walks Monon Trail at least twice a week.

"I like it more than the sidewalk just because it's a bit more peaceful, especially up across the river, and through the woods,” says Ballard.

Indiana has more than 1,500 miles of bicycle path but much of it isn't connected.

That's why the Bicycle Trails Task Force met on Wednesday.

It's their job to think of ways to connect the state's paths and figure out how to pay for it.

So, they created two subcommittees. One focuses on trail safety and how to prevent cars from hitting bicyclists on the trails that run near roads.

The other deals with the funding.

Task Force Chairman Kyle Hannon says nobody has bags of cash sitting around to pay for more trails.

State representatives say the task force has no money and they get no state funding. So one of the big questions is where the money comes from to connect the state's trails.

State Representative Wes Culver says, "There's a lot of private ways we can look at funding. Whether people sponsor a mile, whether it's a hospital or a financial institution. We're looking at creative ways that it doesn't have to depend on government financing."

Ballard likes that idea but he says he wouldn't be willing to pay taxes to connect Indiana's trails.

Simon Hunter, another person using Monon Trail, says he thinks the concept is awesome but he would have to know how much it's going to cost.

The next meeting is March 21.

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(This story was originally published December 6, 2017)

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