Bill to punish IndyGo won’t receive hearing before deadline

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INDIANAPOLIS — SB 141, a bill to halt development of IndyGo’s proposed Blue Line and force the transit corporation to step up its non-tax foundation fundraising, will not get a hearing before Thursday’s deadline in front of the House Roads and Transportation Committee at the Statehouse.

However, a source close to the issue tells Fox 59 News that components of the failed legislation could still be inserted into other bills before the end of the General Assembly April 22nd.

SB 141 supporters, citing the concerns of west side residents and business owners, sought to halt IndyGo’s plans to spend $220 million on a bus rapid transit line that would run the length of Washington Street from Cumberland on the east to I-465 on the west and connect with Indianapolis International Airport.

Opponents of the Blue Line argued that dedicated bus lanes and center lane construction would hamper traffic flow while transit expansion supporters said traffic delays would be minimal on the underutilized Washington Street corridor.

IndyGo estimated that $100 million of the Blue Line budget would be dedicated to infrastructure improvements of roads, sidewalks, curbs and drainage with $70 million coming from federal grants.

The proposed bill also sought to penalize IndyGo for the failure of its Indianapolis Public Transit Foundation to raise substantial matching funds to the 2017 transit income tax through non-tax revenues.

As envisioned in 2014 enabling legislation, those revenues could include donations and corporate grants and moneys raised through advertising and sponsorships.

Instead, IndyGo recently cited a finding by its legal advisors and the Legislative Services Agency at the Indiana Statehouse to claim that $130 million in federal grants over the past couple years are not tax-originated funds but rather intra-governmental funds transfers and, therefore, the transit agency has substantially overcome its foundation fundraising requirement.

While SB 141’s two-fold sanctions against IndyGo did not survive intact, a source tells Fox 59 News that the Blue Line revamp and the foundation requirements could be split and inserted into other legislation in advance to the conclusion of the current legislative session.

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