STATEHOUSE – A bill that would allow some voters in Central Indiana to decide, via a referendum, whether or not to implement a mass transportation system passed out of the House tonight with a 56-39 vote.
House Bill (HB) 1011 will allow Marion and surrounding counties to vote place on the 2014 ballot the question whether to join the proposed transit system and authority to provide dedicated funding with a County Option Income Tax of up to 0.3 percent. This is the maximum allowed tax, but each county can choose the level of tax to put on the ballot, not to exceed that the 0.3 percent.
“Central Indiana is the economic engine of the state,” said Rep. Torr. “It’s about time we have a transit system to match the growth that the Indianapolis area has been experiencing over the years. Indiana cannot be expected to continue to be the crossroads of America without first making some changes.”
The system would call for an overhaul of existing bus systems and leave open the possibility for the creation of one or more light rail lines. The immediate impact of the bill would call for newer, cleaner and more efficient buses. The goal is to reduce the wait time for the bus system from 30 to 60 minutes down to 15 to 30 minute wait times.
While the bill would allow all of the donut counties, plus Madison and Delaware Counties, to hold the referenda in each county, it is likely that only Hamilton and Marion counties will choose to do so for the November 2014 election. If the referendum passes and the transit district is created, the other counties could join in later elections. The creation of the transit system would not only ease transportation around central Indiana, but is also expected to bring jobs to the central Indiana.
“People have to be able to get to work,” said Rep. Torr. “A transit system would greatly benefit employers by providing their employees with a reliable way to get to their jobs every day. This is certainly a work in progress. Passing HB 1011 is not a magic one-step cure for traffic congestion, but I’m looking to give the people of Marion and Hamilton counties the ability to make a choice in deciding how to shape the future of Central Indiana.”