The Indiana House has signed off on a measure that public transportation advocates hope could lead to expanded bus service in central Indiana and potentially pay for a new rail line from Noblesville to downtown Indianapolis.
Supporters of the mass-transit bill said Monday that the measure is needed to connect workers to available jobs and improve the Indianapolis metro region's image among young professionals. Opponents say it would add another tax and create potentially wasteful projects.
The measure would allow Marion County and its surrounding "doughnut" counties to ask voters to approve a new income tax through a referendum to pay for the new transit services. The House voted 56-39 Monday to night to approve the transportation measure.
Public transportation advocates are pushing a $1.3 billion expansion of the local transit system that would initially raise income taxes in Marion and Hamilton County by 0.3 percent.
An amended version of the bill would let rural townships opt out of both voting on whether to authorize the taxes or paying the taxes.