For Immediate Release:
April 29, 2007
Peg McLeish, 317-232-9507
Jason Tomcsi, 317-232-9496
legislation for mass transit studies sent to governor
INDIANAPOLIS – The
General Assembly sent a bill to the governor on Sunday evening that calls for a
series of studies on rail systems, mass transit and transportation alternatives
in Indiana. State
Senator Tim Lanane (D-Anderson),
author of Engrossed Senate Bill (ESB) 105, said he hopes the bill initiates
serious discussion and consideration of mass transit options for Central
Indiana and other metropolitan areas throughout the state.
Lanane’s legislation directs the Indiana Department of
Transportation (INDOT) to conduct a feasibility study regarding implementation
of a commuter rail system with service from Muncie
The study would address the feasibility and implementation of stops along the
rail system in the growing communities of Anderson, Noblesville and Fishers, as
well as other potential stops. It would also look at potential routes and the
estimated costs associated with implementing a rail system. Potential usage of
such a system would also be studied.
“Mass transit has been
extremely effective at reducing transportation costs, pollution and traffic
congestion in other areas of the country,” said Lanane. “There is
no reason to believe that would not be the case in Indiana,
particularly with a transportation alternative for commuters who travel along
the Muncie, Anderson
INDOT would also be required to
commission six regional mass transit studies, which must be completed no later
than January 1, 2009. One of the six studies will address the role that mass
transportation plays in promoting economic growth, improving the environment,
and sustaining the quality of life in Central Indiana, including Madison and Delaware counties.
A joint legislative study committee would
be created to review the INDOT studies and mass transit initiatives in other
states. The committee will issue a report and make recommendations regarding
several topics, including the need to use mass transit to ease traffic
congestion and the availability of federal programs that could supplement state
funding of future mass transit initiatives.
The bill creates a legislative review committee for
proposals concerning the Illiana Expressway and requires INDOT to perform an
independent study concerning the proposed expressway regarding whether it is
needed and where it would be located.
Language originally contained in Senate Bill 14 was inserted
into the bill during the conference committee negotiations. The new language authorizes
INDOT to enter into a public-private agreement to construct a passenger or
freight railroad system, provided that the General Assembly reviews and
appropriates funds for the projects.
The bill was sponsored by Representative Terri Austin
(D-Anderson) and received final approval in the House today by a vote of 95-3. The
Senate voted unanimously to send the bill to the governor for his signature or
For more information on Senator
Lanane, his legislative agenda or other business before the Indiana State
Senate, please visit his website at www.senatedemocrats.IN.gov.