Last Thursday in
Indy, INDOT reps, select legislators, and mayors and representatives from the
along Amtrak's Hoosier State route between Indy and Chicago met to discuss
local funding possibilities to save the line.
The Passenger Rail Investment
Improvement Act of 2008 mandated that states with passenger rail service lines
of less than 750 miles take financial responsibility for the routes — or
Most federal support for the Hoosier State will cease Oct. 1.
this point the state has not made a decision either way about contributing
funding," Will Wingfield, INDOT spokesman,
In a follow-up, NUVO asked Wingfield: "Why push the study so close to the deadline? Why was so little time allowed to create and digest the report and have the appropriate discussions? It's a little confusing."
He responded: "As of Friday, Amtrak has signed agreements with seven of the 19 states with passenger rail services of less than 750 miles. Amtrak has said that it would not terminate service with states holding good-faith contract negotiations by October 1. According to Amtrak's 180-day notice to INDOT, service would otherwise end on October 16."
Details are not yet public about Thursday's stakeholders' meeting, though one source said the group is
thought to have "made sufficient progress to permit INDOT to schedule a
meeting with the governor" for Wednesday morning.
Other rail items of
note: A press conference scheduled for Thursday in Lafayette will provide an
update on a high-speed rail initiative and the Legislature's joint
transportation study committee will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on Sept. 26 in
the Senate Chambers of the Statehouse. To connect with passenger rail
For the record: Wingfield also noted a clarification about a reference to federal rail grants and state support of rail in NUVO's recent cover story, "Weighing the Fate of Amtrak's Hoosier State."
In addition to the $71.4 Indiana Gateway project, INDOT submitted a $2.8 billion application for rail service from Chicago to Cleveland. The news release is linked here.
INDOT is also providing matching funds for the grant-funded development of a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement and Service Development Plan for Chicago to Detroit/Pontiac, which is being led by the Michigan DOT. More information is at greatlakesrail.org.