Mass-transit measure passes key House hurdle

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A bill that could allow central Indiana counties to create a mass-transit system cleared the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday afternoon on a 20-2 vote.

The bill would allow local voters to decide whether to add 0.3 percent to local income tax rates to pay for the proposed $1.3 billion system, which would offer twice the current level of bus service, a rail line from Noblesville to downtown Indianapolis and several bus-rapid transit lines. It also would create a nine-county transit district.

The earliest possible date for ballot issues in Marion and Hamilton counties would be the 2014 general election. An amendment introduced Wednesday makes the referendum advisory-only, meaning local governments would have to sign off as well.

The two "no" votes came from Republican Reps. Eric Turner and Jeff Thompson, who want voteres to weigh in on a township-by-township basis, rather than a county-wide referendum.

Turner said his rural Hamilton County constituents, who are less likely to use the system, deserve a chance to opt out of paying for it.

Thompson, who represents Brownsburg and rural parts of Hendricks County, argued that it could give transit advocates a chance to add the more suburban parts of Hendricks County to the system sooner. The plan currently doesn't include Hendricks County.

Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown opted not to take a vote on the township-by-township amendment, giving transit advocates more time to consider the idea.

The House Roads and Transportation Committee advanced the measure last month.


  • Come on, Joe.
    Actually its up 26% so that means the two people I see riding the bus have some part time help. Well worth 1.3 billion, and you know that's just the estimate. Nobody wants to ride public transportation because its like hanging out at the license branch.
  • Those Allowed to Vote
    I think that those who would be paying the increased income taxes should be the only ones allowed to vote on increasing our taxes. I know this will never happen but I'm tired of people who have no "skin in the game" being allowed to vote to increase my taxes. I feel the same way about property taxes. Only property owners should be allowed to vote on issues that would increase our taxes. As the old saying goes, the government who robs Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul.
  • Facts
    The current bill would only authorize a referendum for Marion and Hamilton Counties. Marion can vote yes and move forward w/o Hamilton, but not the other way around. Further, only a county that votes yes would be taxed and the level of service within that county would correlate. Further, Indygo has seen a 24% increase in ridership since 2009 and nearly surpassed the 10,000,000 trip mark last year. That is 10,000,000 vehicle trips not in your way. This system is about necessary service, the bill would allow expansions o improve the existing service and create choices for others in the community. If you don't believe that people deserve the freedom of choice, then vote no.
  • what my taxes should provide
    Already Broke, Would you prefer to channel your tax dollars to Police and Prisons rather than local mass transit ? Perhaps I misunderstand.
  • Income tax too high already
    I already pay enough taxes. No one wants to go downtown and get shot by the gangbangers anyway. Let's vote on a billion bucks a year in more cops and prisons instead.
    • Bus Rapid Transit
      Bus Rapid Transit is an alternative to light rail with many of the same benefits at a much lower cost. The plan calls for bus rapid transit OR light rail on multiple routes including Noblesville to downtown.
    • Oh Brandon.
      Its all been done before why don't you learn.http://www.american-rails.com/indiana-interurbans.html
    • Yes
      Transit in the form of rail will bring visitors and residents. Learn about rail before you speak about it.
    • Vote No!
      Nick, no body in fishers or Carmel wants to ride a train to downtown Indianapolis. case closed. Ben, the nine counties that surround Marion county are the one that would pay, just like the restaurant tax. The people who will benefit from this will be engineers, construction companies, law firms, politicians, little you and me will be stuck with the bill.
    • Opt out?
      "Turner said his rural Hamilton County constituents, who are less likely to use the system, deserve a chance to opt out of paying for it." Can we apply this same logic to road building in the region? I would like to opt out of paying for building and maintaining roads in rural Hamilton County because I never use the system. This is only fair, right?
    • What are the 9 counties if Hendricks is not included?
      First, what other county that does not touch Marion is part of this plan? Secondly, why the hell would Hendricks not be included? The growth in that county is among the highest in Central Indiana. Absolutely absurd!
    • Away
      I think the rail portion of this is a long, long way down the road.
    • Please Vote Yes
      Please vote yes. IndyGo has not increased ridership in the last four years because it is a decrepit system that stops and slowly lowers its customers to the curb. If people on Keystone, up in Fishers, and near the airport saw a train fly by without stopping but 7 to 8 times in 30 miles of track, it would be a boone to intercity economic and environmental development. People don't enjoy buses. They like riding on rails. A train possibly powered by Indiana's biofuels would see ten times the traffic that IndyGo supplies. It's time to take on Progressive policies that create jobs and increase lines of communication and transportation while improving the environment. Next stop, highspeed rail to Chicago. It would be nice to see Indiana take the lead on the federal highspeed rail initiative. We are falling behind the infrastructure gains in the East. All of our rail projects, as evidenced by this week's earlier article, support MIDWEST jobs. Vote Yes!
    • Just say no.
      Don't let them do it. Indy go hasn't gained in ridership in 4 decades. This is just about the money. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indianapolis_Public_Transportation_Corporation#History

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
    thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

    2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

    3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

    4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

    5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim