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HB1011 passes Senate

This week, the “summer study” version of HB1011 passed out of the Indiana Senate 39-11. The bill varies wildly when compared to the House version which was passed last month with bi-partisan support, which would authorize a referendum in 2014 for Marion and Hamilton Counties to raise income taxes by 0.3% which would be dedicated to funding a vast expansion of transit as well as a regional transit authority.

So what happens now? If you have never watched this process closely (like me) then it comes with a lot of wrinkles. A conference committee has been established which will involve members of the House and members of the Senate. They will take both passed versions of the bill (the House and the Senate versions) and negotiate a final bill that will then be sent back to each chamber to be voted on.

As you can imagine, this will create many opportunities. Deal making will occur. Trade offs will happen. This is where the politics will heavily influence what comes out of committee and what bill will be sent to the Governor to sign.

Will the final bill be a live one that will authorize a referendum in 2014? Will it be a study committee like the Senate Republican leadership seems to want? Will some horse trading involving the Indiana Commerce Connector occur? Who can say. One thing is certain though and that rumors of the bill’s death are highly┬áexaggerated. While some will call this bill a dead man walking, I prefer to see it as an opportunity to excel.

As with all legislation, contacting your representative and senator is key in getting a successful bill passed. However, asking them to put politics aside for what we truly want and need, is a tall order. That will provide the biggest source of skepticism over the next couple of weeks.

Stay tuned! And as always, do whatever you can whether that be calling your representatives, or showing up at the state house to show support. ICAT has arranged a daily rally at 10:11am (signifying the bill number) in support of passing the legislation that authorizes the referendum. The message is NO MORE STUDY. Pass the bill!

14 Responses to “ “HB1011 passes Senate”

  1. Brian says:

    My guess is that the funding mechanism may be a big issue, so I look for some to come up with revenue sources outside of COIT increases. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Noblesville-downtown Indy rail line gets killed in favor of cheaper BRT. I also sense that some in the other donut counties are miffed at having been left out of Indy Connect.

    • Chris Barnett says:

      My understanding of IndyConnect was that it was an “opt in” situation. But maybe it did focus exclusively on the counties with 2/3 of the metro population…that would make sense.

  2. Fred says:

    As someone who has followed transit in Indianapolis for years and years and years, this was expected. I would not be surprised if the compromise out of committee will be to “allow” Marion and Hamilton counties to expand bus service and add BRT, but no fixed-guideway.

    If BRT is the highlight of the compromise, then I would prefer to wait on a real transit solution that includes rail. In my opinion, BRT is not a good solution.

  3. Gene says:

    From the book “Stuff White People Like”:

    #147 Public Transportation That Is Not A Bus

  4. Micah says:

    We can talk, talk, and talk some more: what’s the point when it comes to merely talking about transit in Indy beyond cars?

  5. Kate says:

    I believe that on social media it appears that people are supporting this expansion of mass transit but there are a lot of “boomers” that are not on twitter and are very opposed to this expansion. I was told by Kenley that he was contacted by many people opposed to the expansion and that is why he stopped sponsoring the bill.

    • Chris Barnett says:

      And just when was Sen. Kenley elected to a position of authority in Marion County?

    • ahow628 says:

      And furthermore, the Senate and House passing HB1011 only allows a referendum. It doesn’t enact anything, it doesn’t authorize anything. If people really don’t want it, let it go on the ballot. This is pure lunacy.

      • Kate says:

        Have what go on the ballot? Just the tax increase with letting politicians decide how to spend it? They need to have a plan and then vote on the tax increase. My guess is that this will never make the ballot, too many people opposed to having their taxes increased.

        • ahow628 says:

          Currently, counties cannot implement any sort of income tax. HB1011 would authorize individual counties to vote on whether they wanted to implement a tax of up to 0.3% which, in this case, would be earmarked for transit.

          If you don’t think transit has support, then there are a number of hurdles that will stop it.

          Basically, at this point, state senators are saying that they don’t want Marion (and Hamilton Co) voters to make their own decisions. It is solely Luke Kenley and others trying to maintain their little kingdom.

          • Kate says:

            That’s my point. People have a problem voting to increase their taxes for “mass transit” without a specific plan.

        • ahow628 says:

          Then it is quite obvious you haven’t attended an Indy Connect public meeting, read their website, or investigated what HB1011 entails, otherwise you would understand that your comments are nonsense. Please read up and get back to us, Kate.

          • Kate says:

            Yes, I have read a lot and I have spoken to Torr and Kenley at length. Interesting part about boards like this is that people from different worlds interact that normally wouldn’t. I think I will retreat to my world.

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