Advocates Rally for More Public Transit Funding

Mar 11, 2015

Rep. Randy Truitt (R-West Lafayette) addressing mass transit advocates at the Statehouse Tuesday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Public transportation advocates gathered at the Statehouse Tuesday to urge lawmakers to dramatically  increase statewide funding for public transit.

The General Assembly hasn’t increased dollars in the state’s Public Mass Transportation Fund for seven  years. 

Indiana Citizens’ Alliance for Transit organizer Kim Irwin says that’s despite a 15 percent increase  in transit ridership in the last decade.

Her group wants lawmakers to increase funding to $60 million a year, up from $42.5 million in the last budget.

She says that kind of funding increase  would make a huge difference.

“That’s about having buses on the roads longer periods of time each day and on days of the week they  don’t currently operate," says Irwin, "it’s about having buses come more frequently.” 

House Republican Tim Brown’s proposed budget includes a roughly $6.5 million dollar increase  for public mass transit. He says transit is important as the state becomes more urbanized.

“People younger age want to live in a city and not have to worry about a car," says Brown. "It makes sense long-term  for growth of our state.” 

Brown says he can’t promise a funding increase in this year’s budget but acknowledges its importance  moving forward.