Amtrak’s next stop viability? Clock is ticking

June 13, 2014

Four private companies proposed ways to improve the Hoosier State passenger rail line from Indianapolis to Chicago, and the winning vendor should be announced in the next week or two.

But the continuation of the partnership between local and state government and funding for the service is not set in stone after Oct. 1, when an agreement hammered out last year to keep the rail line running expires…

Amtrak announced last year that it would end funding for passenger lines shorter than 750 miles. The decision put the future of the Hoosier State, which runs from Chicago through Lafayette to Indianapolis four times a week, in jeopardy.

Combined with Amtrak’s long-distance Cardinal, which operates between Chicago and the East Coast three times a week, Amtrak provides daily service through Lafayette and Indianapolis…

There was an expectation of improved passenger cars, WiFi service, and at least some modest food service on board. They also expected the trains to leave and arrive on time and increase ridership, which hasn’t happened, [Bob] Zier, [director of multimodal program and planning for the Indiana Department of Transportation] said.

The requests for proposals might remedy some of [the] problems, Zier said…

At least two of the plans have piqued Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski’s curiosity.

“There were a couple proposals I didn’t feel were good for the community,” Roswarski said, “but there were two proposals I thought were very, very good. I thought they did have potential…”

Read the rest of the story in the Lafayette Journal and Courier, 13 June 2014

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