Monorail plans to be aired at Radisson
Thursday, May 17, 2007 12:51 AM CDT
BY KEITH BENMAN
An Indianapolis Foundation and Montana investor are gauging local support for an Indianapolis-to-Chicago monorail system they say would have key stops in Northwest Indiana.
Representatives of The Russell Foundation Inc. and investor Richard Shafsky plan to meet on Friday with Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority officials to discuss their plans.
On Saturday, they plan to present their plans to a wider audience at a 12:45 p.m. meeting at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville. They have invited 350 elected officials, transportation planners and others to attend.
Shafsky, Russell Foundation Chief of Latino Affairs Manuel Gonzales and others on Tuesday outlined their plans to The Times.
They said the monorail could be built at no cost to taxpayers. Shafsky said he has $10 billion in financing lined up for the project. He would not name investors involved, other than himself.
The monorail could handle both passengers and freight, Shafsky said. With a projected five-year construction, it could be ready for the 2016 Olympics.
The U.S. Olympic Committee last month picked Chicago as the U.S. candidate to host the 2016 summer games. Chicago now must compete against other world-class cities around the globe to actually land the games.
Earlier this year, The Russell Foundation and John Sellars, founder of a company that makes propulsion systems, met with about a dozen lawmakers in Indianapolis to pitch the idea and discuss using abandoned railroad rights-of-way for the monorail.