Throughout the 2015 General Assembly session, the Indiana Citizens’ Alliance for Transit coordinated business leaders, community partners, and taxpayers from across the state to ask elected officials to increase state funding for transit to $60 million in the biennial budget as part of its INvest INtransit campaign.
The Public Mass Transportation Fund (PMTF) is the formula mechanism that is used to fund all of Indiana’s 65 public transit systems. For decades, PMTF was indexed to the state sales and use tax; however, in the closing hours of the 2011 General Assembly session, it was detached from that source and flat-lined at the prior budget amount, $42.5 million – and it has remained at that level since then.
Had PMTF remained indexed to the state sales tax and grown at its average annualized rate since its inception, it would stand at nearly $60 million today.
It’s important to note that, while transit funding has remained stagnant, transit use has not. Transit ridership across the state was up 15 percent from 2004 to 2013, and many believe it could have grown more with sufficient funding.
Additional investment will connect more Hoosiers to jobs, school and medical care and spur additional business for more than 60 Indiana-based companies that manufacture, supply and distribute transit-related parts and services.
To put it succinctly, transit has not been allowed to keep pace with demand and economic opportunity across Indiana.
At the end of the 2015 General Assembly session, fiscal leadership came to an agreement to fund PMTF at $43 million for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 and at $44 million for FY 2017. While this year’s budget allocation is an improvement, a $1.5 million increase divided amongst 65 transit agencies will not make any significant changes to transit service in our communities.
We will continue to make this a pressing legislative issue and ask our state elected officials to INvest INtransit. Here are several ways that you can help this initiative:
- Ask your state senator and representative to increase the appropriation for PMTF in the next biennial state budget (you can reference our 2015 legislative priorities)
- Ask your state senator and representative to reconnect PMTF to the state sales tax or an equally dedicated source
- Use our transit messages to educate elected officials and others on the impact that transit has on your community
- Share these 11 stakeholder profiles to demonstrate the real-life impacts that transit has on the lives and livelihoods of Hoosiers
- Share the 50+ articles that were published in response to the need for further investment
- Request our INvest INtransit postcards and mail them to your state legislators
- Sign our petition in support of this investment
- Keep the conversation going on Facebook and Twitter with #INvestINtransit