Full Regional Cities Funding Still Alive

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Southwest (pictured), northern and northeast Indiana were selected in mid-December for the Regional Cities Initiative. Southwest (pictured), northern and northeast Indiana were selected in mid-December for the Regional Cities Initiative.

The House Ways and Means Committee has approved an amendment designed to roll the Regional Cities Initiative bill into the massive transportation funding proposal. It would provide an additional $42 million from a recently-completed tax amnesty program and now heads to the full House as part of what's considered must-pass infrastructure legislation.

The committee also combined funds for the so-called 13th check for state pension recipients into the transportation bill. The Regional Cities Initiative is one of the signature initiatives of Governor Mike Pence's administration.

House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown's (R-41) amendment calls for Senate Bill 302, the Regional Cities measure, to include the 13th check provisions and be rolled into Senate Bill 333. SB 333 mirrors the language of House Bill 1001, the mega transportation bill. HB 1001 is currently awaiting action by the full Senate after clearing the Senate Appropriations Committee last week.

Eric Berman, political reporter with our partners at WIBC/Network Indiana, says many in the General Assembly, including House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-88), were not convinced the Regional Cities funding mechanism could be carried as a stand-alone bill. The funding would cover one-third of the program, which was expanded to include three regions, instead of the initial two.

In committee this morning, State Representative Tim Brown (R-41) gave details of the amendment.
WIBC/Network Indiana Political Reporter Eric Berman tells Inside INdiana Business House Ways and Means Chairman Representative Tim Brown (R-41) had to craft the amendment because the Regional Cities funding might not have passed on its own.
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