State Rep. Terri Austin led a panel of state lawmakers in discussing the feasibility and economic impact of enhancing Indianas mass transit systems through the expansion of commuter rail lines and bus systems. Legislators discussed these important issues on Thursday during the first meeting of the Joint Study Committee on Mass Transit and Transportation Alternatives, of which Austin is a co-chair. Sen. Tim Lanane of Anderson Austin sponsored the legislation through Senate Bill 105. Testifying before the committee on Thursday was Chris Kiefer, Legislative Affairs Director for the Indiana Department of Transportation. Kiefer provided the panel with an overview of the state and federal funding available for mass transit programs. According to Kiefer, most dollars are placed directly into the hands of local and regional mass transit agencies that use the money to their discretion with little input from INDOT.