(INDIANAPOLIS) — For a second straight year, Indianapolis senators are leading a charge to slash
funding for the IndyGo bus system.
18 Senate Republicans, led by three of the four Republicans from Indianapolis, are co-sponsoring
a bill to withhold up to a third of IndyGo’s income tax money, and block the planned Blue Line from
the airport to the east side. Senator Mike Young slams IndyGo as “a failed bus system,” and
contends the Blue Line will hurt businesses in his westside district.
Opponents charge IndyGo has failed to meet a requirement to raise at least 10% of its
funding from private donations. Voters approved a local income tax five years ago to pay for
IndyGo’s expansion. The bill would withhold 10% of the proceeds.
Each side accuses the other of changing the rules in the middle of the game. The law says that
10% has to come from a source other than taxes or fares, and IndyGo president Inez Evans
says the bus system has met that requirement through federal funds. The Republican bill would
specify state and federal money doesn’t count.
Another quarter of IndyGo’s funding would be cut off if the system doesn’t raise enough of its
budget through taxes and fares. Young charges ridership on the Red Line, the first phase of
IndyGo’s expansion, has dropped nearly every month.
Republicans want to force the Blue Line to share lanes with other traffic instead of using dedicated
bus lanes, to reduce the disruption to businesses. Evans says that change would cost IndyGo
$100 million in federal funds. And Indianapolis public works director Dan Parker says it
would erase federal money not just for the bus system, but for streets and sidewalks in the bus
A similar bill last year passed the Senate, but died in an unrelated dispute with the House over
then-Attorney General Curtis Hill. A Senate committee will vote on the new bill next week.