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(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.