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By Brittany Muncy
A key public official announced Monday that he will support a plan that could expand the Central Indiana mass transit system and add a high speed rail line between Indianapolis and Hamilton County.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said in a news release that his office "fully supports the need for a functional urban transit system, not just for the economic development benefits but for the tangible public safety advantages."
The release also underscored the role mass transit plays "in connecting underserved populations to critical community services, enhancing workforce development, and ensuring successful reentry and reintegration of ex-offenders."
The House passed legislation that authorizes officials in Marion County and its neighbors to put a referendum on the ballot that asks voters to OK a tax increase of up to 0.3 percentage points to fund the $1.3 billion transportation upgrade.
The bill is now in the Senate, where leaders have been somewhat more skeptical of the plan.
James Taylor, the chief executive officer of the John H. Boner Community Center in Indianapolis, and Kas Vargo, president of Binford Redevelopment and Growth in Indianapolis, also endorsed the mass transit plan. More than 150 local businesses are now on record in support of the plan.
"Prosecutor Curry and others who serve Hoosiers daily know what is at stake if we don't act to strengthen central Indiana through mass transit," said Ron Gifford, executive director, Indy Connect Now.
Brittany Muncy is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.