Indiana lawmakers have briefly proposed changing IndyGo’s plans for dedicated bus lanes on a Washington Street stretch in exchange for repealing state-imposed revenue requirements for the transit agency.
But after a lengthy discussion in the House committee on ways and means of the technical composition of the proposal and its implications, a small majority of committee members voted in favor of bringing it to the table.
The proposal was an amendment to the Education Bill, Senate Bill № 290, which was passed from the Education Committee on February 17, but made several amendments to the Funds.
The amendment, authored by Nobleville MP Chuck Goodrich, proposes not a stick but a carrot approach to redesigning future dedicated bus lanes on Washington Street, where the city’s third fast transit route, the Blue Line, is planned. .
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This would have abolished IndyGo’s unique funding requirements in 2014, when fast transit bus lines were approved, if IndyGo had confirmed to the city and county government that the blue line or “any other, substantially similar project” is complete, valid and meets the following requirements:
- On the two-and-a-half-mile stretch of West Washington Street between Holt and High School roads, maintain at least two lanes of traffic in each direction and one lane of high-speed buses in both directions.
- On the two-mile stretch of East Washington Street between Sherman Drive and Arlington Avenue, which runs through Irvington, maintain at least two lanes of general traffic in each direction.
On Monday, the Roads and Means Committee complied with this latest requirement, which drew several supporters of transit in the Irvington area to the committee room before making the entire amendment.
The amendment does not require this from IndyGo; if IndyGo decides not to do so, then its revenue requirements will remain intact.
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Senate Bill 290 is a complete list of educational proposals, including the creation of a pilot program of career training grants for schools, requirements for public meetings to hire a superintendent, requirements for reports on high school dropout rates, and more.
Once the Committee on Methods and Means publishes its report, the bill could be put in place for a second reading and hear amendments possibly on Wednesday.
In the current 24-mile blue line design, 70% of the corridor includes dedicated bus lanes in the left lane on each side of the street, and the outer right lanes are reserved for general traffic. This will cut Washington Street from four lanes to two in most places. However, you can use bus lanes for turns.
The $ 220 million project design process is almost 60% complete, and is projected to open in 2027.
Although the amendment was authored by committee member Goodrich, stakeholders such as IndyGo have also discussed the issue with Representative Bob Benning, Indianapolis, since last year, Benning said.
The goal, Benning said, is to find a compromise with community members who are concerned about the impact of the Blue Line on traffic on Washington Street, one of the few city highways from east to west, and “get rid of it forever so we don’t need more discuss this issue. ”
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IndyGo CEO Ines Evans said the transit agency in collaboration with Behning has begun the process of revising the design of this two-mile segment of West Washington Street. Her team estimates that the redesign of this segment will affect 8 businesses and cost a capital acquisition of $ 12 million. Maintaining all four lanes of common traffic in addition to the two-way bus lane will require more property.
If the amendment is passed, Evans said IndyGo is ready to move forward with this restructuring and further discussions with Behning.
This is the second time the IndyGo blue line has been passed to the legislature
The previous bill, authored by Republican senators Jack Sandlin and Mike Young, sought to ban the construction of special bus lanes outside Mile Square. IndyGo said it would result in a blue line, the design of which includes most of the dedicated lanes along the Washington Street route that connects Cumberland with Indianapolis International Airport, and whose federal funding requires a special transit component.
Senate Bill 369 never received a hearing, but Sandlin told IndyStar then that he had not dropped the matter.
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On the other hand, Goodrich’s amendment would not prevent the implementation of the blue line.
Democratic spokesman Edward Delaney of Indianapolis, who questioned whether lawmakers have the authority under the state constitution to refer to such a specific amendment governing the road project, proposed an amendment. Chairman Timothy Brown tried to declare the movement unfulfilled, but after the refusal called for a vote and then for a vote of show of hands because the votes were too divided.
Contact IndyStar transportation correspondent Kayla Dwyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @ kayla_dwyer17.