Legislation that would pave the way for a $1.3 billion bond-funded regional transit system for central Indiana is likely dead after the Senate president said last week he would not advance the bill.

Senate President pro tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said he wanted lawmakers behind the bill to reintroduce it next year, when the General Asssembly will begin crafting a two-year budget.

The measure calls for a public vote on a plan to raise income tax rates to pay for an expanded bus and light-rail system in Marion and Hamilton counties. Tentative financing plans called for $482 million of bonds, $295 million of federal grants, and other sources.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday defeated the bill, with Democrats voting against it in part because the legislation included “right to work” language that has dominated debate in the legislature this year, according to local reports. Long said he would not revive it in the Senate.

The bill died despite support from Gov. Mitch Daniels, who said he was in favor of a referendum but did not weigh in on the plan itself. Transit advocates said they would continue to push for the measure to be included in new legislation, and supportive lawmakers said they would try again next year.

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