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Mass-transit supporters hopeful for compromise

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Supporters of competing plans to expand mass transit in central Indiana say they’ve got differences to work out before the General Assembly wraps up March 14 but they’re confident they can find resolution.

The House and Senate have passed similar versions of legislation to allow five counties to raise individual income taxes – with voter approval – to fund more buses and routes.

The bill is headed to a conference committee where two members of the House and two from the Senate will try to work out a compromise.

“My ultimate goal is to see high-quality transportation in metropolitan areas, particularly Indianapolis,” said Sen. Pat Miller, R-Indianapolis, the author of Senate Bill 176. “I want to make sure there is readily available, easy bus transportation, and all mass transit is readily available.”

As passed by the Senate, the bill would also have authorized a corporate income tax increase that would fund about 10 percent of the total cost of expanded mass transit. That version of the bill also banned local governments from using the increased revenue to fund light rail.

In the House, lawmakers dropped the ban on light rail and stripped out the corporate income tax increase.

Miller said the conference committee discussion will focus on the light-rail ban and proposals to exclude rural townships from paying taxes for the project.

Miller says she can’t predict an outcome until the bill’s legislation is finalized. But the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, expects the bill to pass.

“We had a fairly close vote in the House, but I think some of the things we’re talking about doing may help pick up one or two votes.” Torr said. “I suspect we’ll have an agreement on whatever the conference report will come up with.”

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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