INDIANAPOLIS | A plan to shake up the regional board that oversees the South Shore Line has been shelved — for now.
House Bill 1450, which would have given Lake County more representation on the Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District board, was changed Wednesday to require the General Assembly to study the board's makeup during a summer committee hearing.
The sponsor of the legislation, state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, recommended changing her proposal to a summer study committee so state lawmakers from outside Northwest Indiana can get a better understanding of what is at stake.
"It's going to be a good opportunity to vet all of the issues that are concerning to my constituents, like an extension to Munster," Candelaria Reardon said. "Is this board an impediment to that? We'll have time to figure all of that out over the summer."
The House Roads and Transportation Committee voted 12-0 to send Candelaria Reardon's NICTD board study to the full House.
But even if the legislation doesn't advance further, the committee chairman, state Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, promised a thorough public transit review over the summer.
"There are a number of issues in mass transit we need to look at," Soliday said. "We've put mass transit on a back burner in the last two years, so this is very helpful."
Candelaria Reardon said she believes Lake County deserves more representation on the NICTD board, because more than 60 percent of daily South Shore Line riders are Lake County residents.
Her original proposal would have given Lake County five representatives on a 13-member board, with Porter and LaPorte counties both getting three and St. Joseph County two.
Each county currently has two representatives on an 11-member board that also includes three members appointed by the governor.