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Four companies responded to the Indiana Department of Transportation's (INDOT) request for proposals to improve operation of the Amtrak Hoosier State passenger-rail service between Indianapolis and Chicago, the department announced yesterday.Proposals were received from Corridor Capital L.L.C.; Herzog Transit Services Inc. and Passenger Transportation Specialists Inc.; Iowa Pacific Holdings Inc.; and Railmark Holdings Inc., according to an INDOT press release. Amtrak, the current service provider, previously submitted a proposal for 2014-15.The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act ended federal support for certain Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles. In October, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced an agreement to keep the Hoosier State operating four days each week in partnership with Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, Rensselaer, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and Beech Grove. The act allows states to contract with independent providers or Amtrak to operate the trains that they now help subsidize."It is exciting and interesting to receive four proposals that look at the Hoosier State passenger-rail service in different ways," said Troy Woodruff, INDOT's chief of staff. "This private sector interest opens the door for other states and regions that are supporting passenger-rail service."INDOT and the participating communities seek to improve the Hoosier State service, increase the number of passengers and decrease operating costs by opening the operation to competition from private operators in addition to Amtrak, state officials said. INDOT officials hope to announce a selected proposal this summer.
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