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Funding for Planned Bus Rapid Transit Routes Survives Scare in the Indiana General Assembly

Despite the temporary victory for transit advocates in Indianapolis, the battle over transit funding continuous in the Indiana General Assembly.
April 18, 2021, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Indianapolis Bus Rapid Transit
An anti-transit crusader in the Indiana State Senate really doesn't want the IndyGo Red Line to have company with the planned Blue and Purple BRT routes.

"Senate Bill 141, which jeopardized the planned Purple and Blue bus rapid transit lines, will not advance out of House committee by deadline," reports Ethan May. The bill won approval from the State Senate but stalled in the House Roads and Transportation Committee, according to May.

The Purple and Blue routes are planned to supplement existing BRT service that opened on the IndyGo Red Line in September 2019.

In an article from January, May explained the reasoning of State Senator Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis), who drafted the bill. According to that article, "Freeman said his bill is intended to protect taxpayers by holding IndyGo accountable to a 2014 law that requires the agency to raise funds to cover a certain percentage of its costs."

The IndyGo Purple and Blue lines might have won the battle, but the war is far from over. Just a few weeks after SB 141 failed in the Indiana House of Representatives, the State Senate voted to add an amendment to a utilities bill that could cost IndyGo millions, according to yet another article by May.

"Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, filed the amendment to House Bill 1191. The amended bill initially dealt with local governments' ability to control utility connections. The amendment requires IndyGo to reimburse utility companies for the relocation of utilities related to projects," reports May.

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Published on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 in Indystar
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