INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard leads the effort to bring a better mass transit system to Central Indiana.
He says something has to get done this year, yet the transit bill is still in limbo as state lawmakers prepare to wrap up the 2014 session of the General Assembly.
Key lawmakers agreed on a proposal late Wednesday that no longer includes a controversial corporate tax meant to fund improvements in the transit system. It does call for voluntary corporate contributions.
The final version of the transit bill also bans a proposed light rail line from Noblesville to downtown Indianapolis. Instead the bill would lead to county referendums on higher local taxes to improve bus service.
“You know, I’m not real happy with a complete ban on rail when my county already owns a line,” said Rep. Jerry Torr (R-Carmel,) “but, nevertheless, I think it’ll get us a vote on the floor.”
When asked if the bill is in jeopardy Senate GOP Leader David Long said, “I wouldn’t say you can put any tag on it right now. It’s just still a work in progress, OK?”
Votes in the House and Senate will take place Thursday and they are expected to be very close in both houses.
If the bill is approved, referendums likely won’t take place until 2015 or 2016.