Changes expected in mass transit bill

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The mass transit bill backed by Mayor Greg Ballard will get a public hearing in a state Senate committee later this week and big changes are likely to be made. 

Supporters of the mass transit proposal picked up a new ally as Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced his belief that it would benefit public safety, if for no other reason, because victims and witnesses will be able to get to his office more easily. 

"It is a very, very common occurrence that individuals are unable to make the connections to get downtown," he said.

Senate co-sponsor Jim Merritt, meanwhile, tempers his prediction that the bill will pass the Senate by acknowledging that plans for a light rail line from Indianapolis to Hamilton County are in jeopardy. He says the Senate must answer one question: "Will this just be for the bussing in Indianapolis or is it for all mass transit like it is now?"

And another Senator, Luke Kenley, has taken his name off the bill that calls for a referendum on transit needs that could lead to an increase in local option income taxes. 

"I have a surprisingly large number of constituents who are strongly opposed to this,"  says Sen. Kenley (R-Noblesville.)  "They just feel like it's going to be a tax increase on them without any particular benefit."

Some of the benefits, supporters say, may not be apparent. 

"We are concerned about how people will move about when gas prices are $4 or $5," said Kas Vargo of Binford Redevelopment and Growth.

But they still have a sales job to complete.

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I think it will be very benefical now considering the increase in gas prices and will allow people better access to am from jobs who were limited on working certain hrs or apply for certain jobs because of limited means to get where they need to be. I myself would even use it would save alot more money on gas and other car expenses.

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