Chesterton Tribune


Hoosier Environmental Council backs mass transit

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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 work.

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.


Posted 2/19/2013