Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mass Transit - TIF Out, Eminent Domain Out, Other Good Ideas Avoided

First off, lets take a moment to celebrate that HB 1011 was amended to omit the option to establish a TIF district along any rail lines. This amendment was offered by Representative Cherrish Pryor. Whew ! One very bad idea down !

Now on to other good amendments - some that made it and others that didn't get far.

I tripped on a link to documents provided to Legislators on the ISL website (in.gov/legislative).  These apparently are the documents that are available on the Legislators desks at various hearing dates.  I poked on the mass transit bill (HB 1011) and the House Ways and Means committee and finally found a hearing on February 13 with several amendments, some voted on and others not.

In this group were some very good ideas.  Amendment 35 (here is the link, but it requires ftp and may not work for you) banned the use of taxpayer assets or forced employee time to promote the public question unless those assets were also made available to those opposed to the public question.  It also would have banned vendors from promoting the question. 

Amendment 35 was not heard - an author was not even found at the hearing.

Amendment 38 (click here - again I hope the link works for you) was heard and passed by consent.  It wasn't clear to me if Rep. Pryor authored it, but she certainly championed it in the House Ways and Means Committee meeting. It included the elimination from HB 1011, the transit authority use of eminent domain.  Discussion mentioned that the Cities and Counties have the authority and most of the right of way already.  It also included the additional requirement that any bonds floated by the transit authority must also be approved by the fiscal bodies of the Counties involved, and set minority and women hiring goals.  And also notable, the transit authority board would have additional seats appointed by the County Councils and County Commissioners.  The Marion County appointments would be 5 - 2 by the Mayor, 2 by the Council, and 1 by the Commissioners.

Amendments 37, 40, and 41 all included a township by township referendum vote.  The final evolution of this issue was to allow the outer townships of the outer counties to have individual referenda, but not the internal townships in those counties, and no township votes in Marion County at all.  Of course, they need the donors from Decatur, Perry, and Franklin Townships, who will not see any improvement in the lacking transit we now 'enjoy,' should this mass transit plan go all the way through.

HB 1011 did pass out of the House and now goes to the Senate.  Hopefully they will include language to limit taxpayer's subsidizing only the proponents of the public question, trim the costs in half, include township by township opt-in votes, and find a way to ensure that any plan implied in the public referendum be the plan that must be implemented with the tax revenue approved.

But, today, I intend to enjoy the fact that the TIF district is out.

1 comment:

Unigov said...

I looked for the Noblesville rail info a few weeks ago, they canned it. The archive.org shows the rail page never advanced past the early documents.

Why is mass transit a bad idea ?