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DeLaney testifies against bill to undercut public transit

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Today, State Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) took off his legislator hat and testified as an Indianapolis resident, commuter and rider of the Red Line in the House committee on Roads and Transportation. The committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 52 which seeks to undercut efforts to expand access to public transportation in Indianapolis. This bill would prohibit the use of dedicated bus lanes in new mass transit projects, which would disqualify IndyGo from the federal grants that the Blue Line expansion depends on. The Blue Line project would bring important upgrades to infrastructure on the West Side and includes repairs to Washington St. SB 52 has been held back for a vote next Tuesday. 

“Without question, this is a matter for local road experts to decide, not the state legislature,” DeLaney said. “Senate Bill 52 is yet another attempt from this body to overrule local units of government. 

“As a resident of Indianapolis, I take advantage of the Red Line that runs through my district to get to work or other parts of the city. I observe firsthand the people benefitting from the service of public transportation: from children with backpacks taking the bus to their charter school, to those in need of medical services taking the bus to the hospital. 

“The catch is that the Red Line is not complete until the Blue Line is complete. The project was designed as a network of bus routes that connect to bring passengers from the North and East Side all the way to the airport. 

“Public transit in Indianapolis will not be fully operational without the completion of the Blue Line, which is dependent on federal grant money. Eliminating the construction of new dedicated lanes shuts off access to $150 million in federal grants, effectively killing the Blue Line. 

“It is no secret that our roads in Indianapolis need improvement, and the federal government is willing to pay for some of this work. The General Assembly has no business forcing Indianapolis to forfeit funding that would improve the lives of its residents. 

“State legislators should not try to become road designers. I want my City-County Council to be allowed to do their job.”

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