INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Expanding mass transit in Indiana could help reduce the
need for cars and allow for cleaner air, the Hoosier Environmental Council’s
senior policy director said Monday.
Tim Maloney, senior policy director for the environmental policy
organization, said expanding the transit system could help encourage urban
development, create jobs and give those who can’t drive a way to get to
Maloney cited changing demographics as another factor in why mass transit
could benefit the state.
“We need to provide more transportation options ... both for our aging
population as well as the Millennials who are looking for very attractive
places to settle and who are much less interested in owning and driving cars
than older generations,” he said in a conference call.
An Indiana House panel last week approved a bill that calls for public
referendums intended to help fund mass-transit projects. The bill would
allow voters in Marion and Hamilton counties to decide whether to raise
local income taxes 0.3 percent to fund their local share of a proposed
10-year, $1.3 billion mass transit plan that calls for a commuter rail line
from Noblesville, Ind., to Indianapolis.
“It allows Marion County and the surrounding counties to establish a
regional transit system and it also enables those counties to adopt a local
option income tax to help fund transit,” Maloney said.
Last week, hundreds of people rallied at the Statehouse in support of the
mass transit plan, which would get about half of its funding from the
federal government. Mass transit supporters have also proposed building a
light commuter rail line and doubling bus service in the Indianapolis area.
The Indiana Citizens’ Alliance for Transit held its Transit Day event at the
Statehouse last Wednesday to show support for the bill.