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Lawmakers move to lift Indiana's ban on light rail to help win Amazon's second headquarters

Posted: 9:56 PM, Jan 25, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-25 22:53:34-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- In order to make Indianapolis more attractive as home to Amazon's second headquarters, a House committee gave the green light Wednesday to a bill that would lift the current ban on light rail that's written into Indiana law.

Amazon said direct access to rail, train, subway/metro and bus routes is one of four key requirements in its request for proposals.

State Rep. Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis) says all mass transit options need to be on the table to keep Indy in the race for Amazon's second headquarters. 

"The City of Indianapolis needs to have the flexibility to employ whatever we need for mass transit to meet the needs of companies that are considering moving to Indianapolis, as well as the existing residents here that are looking for a more robust system," said Moed.

If you look at the 20 cities that made Amazon's cut, nearly all have some sort of rail system in place, except Indianapolis and Columbus. Raleigh has commuter and light rail service in the works.

Indianapolis does have bus service and work on the Red Line is underway. The 13-mile electric rapid transit line will feature battery-powered buses that make stops every ten minutes. 

Republicans pushed for the state's ban on light rail back in 2014 because of the cost.

Senate majority floor leader, Rodric Bray, says he welcomes a conversation on lifting the ban.

RTV6 asked Bray if he thinks a lack of rail could work against Indianapolis in its Amazon bid.

"They're going to have to weigh that with all that Indianapolis has to offer, and I think we have a lot of wonderful things to offer here in Indiana that could be attractive and pull them into the state," said Bray.

Rep. Moed says there aren't any plans for light rail in the works in central Indiana, but he wants to give Marion and six surrounding counties the option.

The proposal now moves to the full house for consideration.

MORE AMAZON HQ2 COVERAGE | Indy's an Amazon finalist: Do we have a shot at getting the new headquarters?  Amazon, Indiana? Could Indy get the next Amazon headquarters?  |  Indianapolis leaders make quiet Amazon project pitch, Gary appeals to virtue of company  |  Indy, Fishers mayors lead effort to attract second Amazon headquarters  |  Indy ranks low on list of Amazon HQ2 contenders, but not last

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