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Senate Strips Controversial Transit Bill Amendment
Updated February 4, 2014 7:01 AM | Filed under: Politics
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(STATEHOUSE) - The Senate has killed one controversial addition to the central Indiana transit bill, but a second is still part of the legislation.

On a voice vote and with little debate, senators deleted a provision which would have let Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard go to the state for bonding authority the City-County Council has denied him.

Ballard has sought the borrowing to finance another round of sidewalk building and road repairs. But senators voted 33-15 to reject an attempt to strip a second provision limiting transit unions' bargaining rights to wage-related issues.

Tax and Fiscal Policy Chairman Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) argues that clause is needed to ensure the mapping of expanded bus routes doesn't get entangled in union negotiations.

And the Senate rejected, on a voice vote, an amendment to open the door for local governments to build light rail lines if they choose.

Senator Patricia Miller (R-Indianapolis) says light rail has consistently been the most polarizing element of the proposal. The bill would let Marion County and five others hold referenda on establishing local income taxes to pay for a transit expansion.

A final vote is due Tuesday or Wednesday.

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