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Public Transportation Advocates Rally For Funding Increase

Under a new proposal, buses would be routed down Third Street instead of Kirkwood Ave. due to the new transit hub opening downtown in June.

Public transportation advocates gathered at the Statehouse Tuesday to urge lawmakers to dramatically increase statewide funding for public transit.

The General Assembly hasn’t increased dollars in the state’s Public Mass Transportation Fund for seven years. Indiana Citizens’ Alliance for Transit organizer Kim Irwin says that’s despite a 15 percent increase in transit ridership in the last decade.

Her group wants lawmakers to increase funding to $60 million a year, up from $42.5 million in the last budget.

She says that kind of funding increase would make a huge difference.

“That’s about having buses on the roads longer periods of time each day and on days of the week they don’t currently operate; it’s about having buses come more frequently,” Irwin says.

Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, proposed a budget that includes a roughly $6.5 million increase for public mass transit. He says transit is important as the state becomes more urbanized.

“People younger age want to live in a city and not have to worry about a car. It makes sense long-term for growth of our state,” he says.

Brown says he can’t promise a funding increase in this year’s budget but acknowledges its importance moving forward.

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