The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

State News

February 14, 2013

Indiana House panel approves mass transit bill

Madison County plays key role in legislation

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana House panel has approved a bill that calls for central Indiana public referendums intended to help fund mass transit projects.

The House Ways and Means committee voted 20-2 this week for the bill, which now moves to the full House.

The legislation would let voters in Madison and Marion counties decide through a referendum whether to raise local income taxes 0.3 percent to fund their local share of a proposed $1.3 billion mass transit plan.

Wednesday’s vote came after hundreds of people rallied at the Statehouse in support of that plan, which would get about half its funding from the federal government.

Supporters of the plan have proposed projects that include building a light commuter rail line and doubling bus service in the Indianapolis area.

Under House Bill 1011, a referendum would ask voters to approve an additional county tax to help fund the mass transit district (MTD). The referendum could not be on the ballot before the 2014 general election.

Madison County is among the counties that could opt into the district. The others are: Boone, Delaware, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan and Shelby.

Madison County could be crucial to the program. As proposed, irrespective of the approval of the public question, an MTD could be created under four other scenarios. Two of those would require participation by Madison County. Two other options would create the MTD if only Marion County and Hamilton County participated or if Marion County participated with one other contiguous eligible county.

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