(Statehouse) Feb. 27, 2007 - Yesterday, the Indiana House of Representatives passed House Bill 1742, the Regional Bus Authority Bill, by a 99-0 vote. State Rep. Scott Pelath (Michigan City) is the author and Rep. Tom Dermody (LaPorte) is the co-author of the measure. The bill allows local units of government to join the Regional Bus Authority.
"Northwest Indiana is continuing to plan for increased transportation services and LaPorte County must be allowed to join in those efforts, if local leaders so desire," stated Rep. Dermody. "A single, coordinated bus system across the region will provide flexible services to our local residents. While these ideas are in the beginning stages, I believe that our county should be allowed to join the discussion."
House Bill 1742 allows LaPorte County, Michigan City or the City of LaPorte to choose whether the government unit should become a member of the Northwest Indiana Regional Bus Authority. The bill allows the fiscal body of the county or city to adopt a resolution authorizing membership to the authority. The board of the Bus Authority may then approve the membership of that county or city. The bill also establishes that the executive of the county or city shall appoint a member to the Bus Authority's Board and a member to the Citizens' Advisory Council.
The Northwest Indiana Regional Bus Authority grew out of the Northwest Indiana Regional Transportation Authority. The Bus Authority has recently completed a Strategic Operations plan that depicts an unmet need for transit service across the northwest Indiana counties, claiming that an additional 2.3 million trips annually to serve unmet demand. The plan also illustrates that stakeholder input in current services indicate that major improvements in bus service are needed across the area.
House Bill 1742 now heads to the Senate for consideration. For more information, residents may contact State Representative Tom Dermody at the Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St., Room 401, Indianapolis, IN 46204, 1-800-382-9841, firstname.lastname@example.org.