Governor Pence signed a bill to allow Central Indiana voters to decide on expanding mass transit.
Pence signed Senate Bill 176 on the day before the deadline for action one way or the other, saying he did so due to “improvements” to the bill, such as the removal of light rail.
Conservatives in the General Assembly resisted several attempts to include light rail in the bill, claiming all of the state’s taxpayers could eventually have to pay for it. Still, supporters of mass transit saw this as a step forward, even if they didn’t get all they wanted.
“Lack of transit in Central Indiana weakens access to jobs and isolates neighborhoods. SB176 begins to address a serious challenge to our ability to attract workers and investment to the Indianapolis region,” said Michael Huber, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.
Six counties are covered by the new law – Marion, Johnson, Hancock, Hamilton, Delaware and Madison. Local governments can now hold referendums on funding an expansion of mass transit buses through local income tax increases.