Senate committee amends, approves mass transit bill

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INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 28, 2014) – A senate committee passed a bill that could expand central Indiana’s mass transit system.

In an 8-4 vote, the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee approved Senate Bill 176. During Tuesday morning’s hearing, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Westfield Mayor Andy Cook spoke in support of the bill. The measure is now headed to the full Senate.

Others who voiced support included AARP, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, clergy and a member of the Central Indiana Transit Task Force.

The bill would allow several central Indiana counties to impose a county income tax or a county employment tax to expand public transportation. Voters in those counties—Delaware, Hamilton, Johnson, Madison and Marion—would have to approve the plan. The bill also mandates that 25 percent of operating costs would come from fares.

The bill was amended to add Hancock County, put a prohibition on light rail and prevent state money from being used for mass transit expansion.

The bill’s authors are Sen. Pat Miller, R-Indianapolis, and Sen. Brent Waltz, R-Greenwood.