Proposed bill could restrict IndyGo funding

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A proposed bill could restrict funding for IndyGo, forcing the transit system to raise more private funding on its own.

Chester Pierson rides the IndyGo bus every day.

“I just love IndyGo, I love riding the bus. It’ll take me wherever I need to go,” said Pierson.

Some Republican state lawmakers want to slam on the brakes for some IndyGo funding, citing a 2014 state law requiring IndyGo to raise more private funding on its own.

“The agreement was IndyGo would raise 10% privately. State law requires them to raise 25% of their fares from the box. They’re not meeting that requirement. Either the law matters, or it doesn’t. I ask you to hold IndyGo accountable, and I ask you to move the bill forward,” said State Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis) during Thursday’s committee meeting.

State Senator Michael Young (R-Indianapolis) is a co-author of the bill.

“IndyGo’s ridership fell for every month, I think except for January it went up a little bit. It’s fallen. That’s not even having anything to do with COVID. It’s fallen. It’s a failed bus system already.” said Young.

“Our primary goal is to connect people to places,” said Inez Evans, IndyGo President and CEO.

Evans asserts IndyGo is in compliance with the existing rules.

But future plans could be at risk.

“Through my conversations and correspondence with the Federal Transportation Administration, if SB 141 is passed. IndyGo will be prohibited from moving forward, because of the state legislation, on the Purple and the Blue lines, if they cannot meet the additional 10% by the exclusion of state and Federal funds being counted towards that,” Evans explained.

State Senator Aaron Freeman insists this bill does nothing to IndyGo’s planned Purple line.

But the proposal prohibits Marion County from creating additional IndyGo bus rapid transit lines if the money requirements aren’t met.

Lawmakers didn’t take any action Thursday. The bill was held. The committee chairman said the proposal will be amended and voted on next week.