HB1073 falls in committee but still not dead

IndyGo on Ohio St (image credit: Curt Ailes)
IndyGo on Ohio St (image credit: Curt Ailes)

HB1073 (Public Mass Transit) was dealt a heavy blow today when it went down 10-11 in the House Ways & Means committee this morning. Partisan bickering erupted early on with Representative Crawford singling out the labor language in the bill. Jeff Espich, committee Chairman, pointed out that he had stripped half of the labor related language out but it appeared the Democrats on the committee were not going to budge and continued to vote no. To be clear, the transit portion of the bill never seemed to be at the heart of the debate over HB1073; it was always the labor.

The bickering could be see as an extension of the passionate debate of the past few weeks over Right to Work legislation which passed the House yesterday with Democrats coming up on the losing end of that debate.

This officially puts HB1073 in the failed bills category but does not altogether bury it from being passed in some other form this session. Ron Gifford, executive director of the Central Indiana Transit Task Force, has said that he will do his best to get the transit language reinserted into another bill later in the session; perhaps in a couple weeks. According to his comments in the Indianapolis Star, this is not the best way to get the job done, but is not unheard of and given that the transit portion itself seems to benefit from bipartisan support, may have some hope of passage.

However, the over-arching theme today and indeed this entire session, has been passion from both sides that seem to have been deeply routed in their philosophical political beliefs; only one Democrat (Peggy Welch) voted in favor of the legislation while claiming to not like the labor language. Apparently my offer of dinner was not enough to sway any other legislators to think cooperatively about transit.

Urban Indy will continue to keep everyone up to date as more develops regarding transit during this session. Stay tuned. If there is a call to action in the next few weeks, we will provide the details.

Comments 6

  • With apologies to Monty Python: it’s not dead yet.

  • A lot of Indianapolis-specific legislation that comes to mind gets attached as “riders” to other bills. Wishard’s referendum was put into some big budget bill (2010 budget, I think?) and the Capital Improvement Board bailout was also passed in a similar fashion.

    Unfortunately, it’s always a uphill battle when it comes to Indianapolis. Doubly so if it’s a “central Indiana” bill since there’s no designation for central Indiana similar to Indianapolis’ “first class city” status.

  • I think its best for Indianapolis Mass Transit to start small and grow as needed.
    Right now the Density isn’t there for the Rail Line and its expensive.
    Best Approach is to expand bus service and provide it in Hamilton County and Hendricks County and Triple the service and reduce wait times to 15 minutes max and have a display to tell you when the Bus is expected to arrive.

  • So what next? How do we give voice to the citizens of Marion and Hamilton counties in the Indiana General Assembly? Who will organize a common front for those who want real mass transit in the Indianapolis metropolitan area?!

    Someone take the lead, please! I will follow.

    • Ive asked the same questions John and all I can say is to stay positive for now and keep letting lawmakers know that we are supportive of transit legislation. I have personally offered up my very limited free time to do whatever is required to help get over the hump on this. Whatever I hear, I will pass along on the blog.

  • Hard for me to understand the rare statement “Indianapolis is not Chicago or New York.” Honestly I feel like a lot of people who live in Indy want to pretend that Indianapolis is more of a town rather than a city. Clearly they are mistaken. I agree with John someone needs to make this thing go.

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