Trouble at the Statehouse
A bill proposed at the statehouse could jeopardize $90 million of new investment in the West Washington Corridor. Here is a primer for what you need to know as the Blue Line fight begins.
- In 2016, Indianapolis voters passed a transit referendum to expand IndyGo, including the Red Line, Purple Line, and Blue Line.
- The referendum nets $50 million a year.
- According to a 2014 law, IndyGo is responsible for paying 10% of its operating costs.
- There has been a longstanding concern at the statehouse that IndyGo will fail to meet the full requirement and make taxpayers liable for the difference.
- Aaron Freeman (District 32) has proposed a bill to hold IndyGo accountable for raising 10% of its operating expenses.
- His bill would no longer allow state and federal funds to count toward this 10% requirement.
- Indianapolis’ business leaders have been outspoken in their condemnation of the bill.
- Freeman has historically positioned himself as an opponent of public transit expansion, though he maintains this is not the case.
- Freeman’s bill also imposes penalties that could cost IndyGo $18 million a year, more than a third of its annual tax revenue.
- IndyGo raises funds through the Indianapolis Public Transportation Foundation.
- The foundation received its non-profit status in 2019 but has raised less than $100,000 to date.
- Tax payers in the West Washington Corridor will carry the 2016 transit referendum’s burden, even if IndyGo ultimately scraps the Blue Line.
Revitalization Hangs in the Balance
With the Purple Line’s construction set to begin this year, Freeman’s bill could deal the Blue Line a fatal blow along with infrastructure investment, business revenue gains, and property value increases. If made law, the bill could prove a significant setback for revitalization in the West Washington Corridor. Stay tuned for more updates.