The second half of the session is off to a slow start as it was a relatively quiet week at the Statehouse. The Senate held its initial budget hearing and will consider the House proposed school-funding formula when it continues on Tuesday. A major factor will be that Indiana revenue collections have once again come in under projections for February. Sen. Luke Kenley, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, has said that he will likely be more cautious with his version of the biennial budget.
Mark Fisher, Indy Chamber VP of Government Relations, is convening a group of Indianapolis leaders in Raleigh, NC for the Transit Leadership Academy that is taking place throughout 2015. Indy is one of three regions accepted nationwide into the competitive program for 2015, an opportunity for the region to get a leg up in developing the improved public transit the local economy needs.
Indy’s team will participate in an intensive program of workshops and online trainings, covering topics such as designing transit networks, putting together funding and financing packages to pay for them and measuring performance to ensure accountability. Faculty members include national experts as well as representatives of peer regions who will share their first-hand experiences and lessons learned.
In addition to the team from Indy, the 2015 Academy includes key business, civic, and community leaders from Nashville, TN and Raleigh, NC. Each of these regions is preparing to make a significant investment in their transportation networks in the next few years, and the Transportation Innovation Academy will empower these regional leaders to help translate those visions into action.
Meanwhile, at the Statehouse, we will continue to advocate for $60 million in the Senate budget for the Public Mass Transit Fund (PMTF). Our next best chance to push Senators to fully fund transit will be at Transit Day at the Statehouse on Tuesday March 10th. Please come join us at the Statehouse on Tuesday to promote transit.
Highlights of the week outside of the Statehouse included two outstanding events: the 2015 Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute’s Gridiron Dinner and the Indy Chamber Annual Event.
Gridironattendees were treated to the sweet sounds of the Indy Chamber’s house band, Chamber Music. Made up of Indy Chamber employees and their family members, they rocked the crowd at Gridiron and are now booking gigs left and right.
At the Annual Event, Rebecca Ryan, a leading national expert on the economy and the growing influence of millennials, challenged Indianapolis to break down walls and create unusual partnerships to improve our quality of life. Addressing the packed house of business and civic leaders at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Ryan implored attendees that, “the cities that are bold today will crush it in the future.”
If you missed it last week, check out the Mid-Session Update on the Indy Chamber Legislative Agenda. Look back here for more Statehouse news as the second half of the Legislative Session picks up next week.