(INDIANAPOLIS-WISH) - The mass transit bill has passed the state Senate for the first time.
The vote was 28-to-20 Tuesday morning for the bill that calls for referendums in six counties on higher taxes to fund a better bus system. The bill prohibits the creation of light rail lines.
"This is the capitol city and our transportation system is inadequate," said Sen. Pat Miller (R-Indianapolis.) "It's inadequate for residents of Marion County, it's inadequate for surrounding counties and it's certainly inadequate for those individuals who come to visit this city."
The bill could lead to higher corporate taxes and higher local income taxes with bus riders picking up 25 percent of the cost of improvements.
"This is an economic justice issue," said Keith Mitchell, who rides the bus. "It's an opportunity issue for families. If they can't get to work on time, and I can tell you as rider it can be really difficult, if you miss your one bus you can be late to work."
The mass transit now goes to the Indiana House where Speaker Brian Bosma has expressed concern over the funding formula.
Mayor Greg Ballard released the following statement Tuesday morning:
"I am pleased to see this legislation move forward. Convenient and reliable transportation is critical to attracting new residents and is crucial to the future growth of Central Indiana. We have been nationally recognized over the last few years as a great place to live, work and raise a family. A modern, regional mass transit system is the next step to drive Central Indiana forward as an economic engine for our state."
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