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Mass-transit bill amended, ready for House vote

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A bill to let voters authorize higher taxes in central Indiana to pay for an expanded mass-transit system is ready for a full vote in the House after an amendment restricted who would be affected by it.

House Bill 1011 would now apply only to the more urban and suburban areas of the region and exempt rural townships from both voting on whether to authorize the taxes and paying the taxes.

Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, offered the amendment to exempt rural areas — those farthest from Indianapolis — from the legislation. Supporters of the change said the mass-transit program won’t reach those areas and, therefore, the people who live there shouldn’t have to pay the taxes to support the program.

Turner said it’s likely many of those residents would have voted against the tax hikes and could have made the $1.3 billion project less likely to succeed.

“Even the proponents would say that the opportunity to move to mass transit might actually be enhanced because those in the perimeter would not count,” Turner said.

The House approved the amendment on a voice vote and the bill is now eligible for full House passage. A vote could come as early as Thursday.

The bill cleared the House Ways and Means Committee a week ago on a 20-2 vote.

The bill creates a referendum that — if approved — would let counties raise income taxes by 0.3 percent to pay for more buses, more routes to more places and, eventually, the construction of a commuter rail system between Marion and Hamilton counties.

For a family with taxable income of $75,000, the potential tax hike would be roughly $225 per year.

The earliest possible date for ballot issues in Marion and Hamilton counties would be the 2014 general election.

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  • a joke
    they dont even fill the available mass transit that is in place now, just another thing to say "they have", but can't pay for or keep safe
  • Community benefit
    I do not have any children, yet I pay taxes to support our public schools. (And I am happy to do so as a public duty.) There is such a thing as a social contract. Still I do see the argument that it might actually help transit succeed if the rural areas aren't included in the referendum because those voters might put the kibosh on it. (I just wonder how much of a revenue hit this would be.)
  • Wow
    MrGadget that is laughable! Name one public transit system in the country that is completely fee funded... There isn't one. People who think like you are the reason we have the worst public transportation system of any large city in the nation. Ridiculous....
  • User Pays
    Let the users pay for mass transit and let it be privately operated without subsidy. If there is sufficient demand, the busses will roll, 'till the wee hours even. If there isn't, call a cab (the on demand public transportation service). Too expensive? Perhaps consider getting a job closer to home, or a home closer to work.
  • Another amendment...
    We who do no have children and choose not to own a motor vehicle want to make sure that any part of our paid taxes currently used to fund public education and build/ maintain roads are diverted to fund mass transit, instead. Lol...
    • You're already exempt
      There are no rural roads in Marion County, where you live. We pay for the roads in our county through our county of residence taxes.
    • Another amendment
      We who live in the downtown area would also like an amendment allowing us to opt out of paying for rural roads that we too will never use. Can Representative Turner put that one in for us?

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