Kayla Dwyer | Indianapolis Star

Two and a half miles from the Indiana Statehouse, Sarah Awodumila owns The Jollof Buka, a Nigerian and Caribbean restaurant and lounge at the corner of West Washington Street and Belleview Place ― where IndyGo envisions building a stop for the future, but embattled, Blue Line.

Awodumila, who has been there since 2021, hasn’t heard a word from city officials about the bus-rapid-transit line, its associated infrastructure improvements along crumbling Washington Street or the battle broiling at the Statehouse over its future.

At first glance, the Blue Line plan sounds to her like a reasonable improvement ― even with some temporary construction pain.

“Why would it be a bad thing? she asked.One state senator has an answer to that question: the dedicated bus lanes.

Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, wants to ban dedicated bus lanes on Washington Street, contending the Blue Line project can become a reality without them. IndyGo and economic development leaders say bus-only lanes are integral and that if Senate Bill 52, which would ban them for a year, passes, the project would be delayed or end all together.

On Tuesday, members of the House Roads and Transportation committee, where this idea has died in previous years, voted the bill through along party lines ― scuttling decades of planning and hundreds of millions in associated economic development, say Blue Line supporters. Blue Line detractors say this vote could save IndyGo and Indianapolis from a flawed element of a failed bus rapid transit experiment. The bill now heads to the House floor.

Plenty of research exists about the impacts of dedicated bus lanes. The question the General Assembly is debating is whether the Blue Line, without dedicated lanes, can really be the Blue Line that Marion County voters envisioned when they approved the transit tax referendum in 2016. And, given the concerns some businesses have about traffic flow and disruption, is it worth it?

Read the full article with photos on indystar.com.