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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak, Indiana reach agreement for Hoosier service funding


Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced yesterday that the state, local communities and Amtrak have reached an agreement to keep the Hoosier State passenger-rail service operating between Indianapolis and Chicago.

After contracts are signed, monthly payments will renew the existing service for one year, with an option for an additional four months. Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, Rensselaer, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and Beech Grove are partnering with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to fund the service, INDOT and Pence administration officials said in a joint statement.

"This agreement will make Hoosier jobs more secure and preserve an important transportation link for Indiana," said Pence.

The agreement also allows state and local partners to monitor ridership on the service, as well as explore improvements "to ensure long-term viability," said INDOT Commissioner Karl Browning.

"The communities that are contributing funding will have a vested interest in improving performance and ensuring accountability for the tax dollars being invested," he said.

States with state-supported Amtrak service have been renegotiating their contracts with the national intercity passenger railroad as required under a 2008 federal law that called for an end to federal support for Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles. That includes the Hoosier State service, which operates four days a week between Indianapolis and Chicago.

Federal funding will continue for Amtrak's long-distance Cardinal service, which operates along the route the remaining three days per week between Cincinnati and Chicago via Indianapolis.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/16/2013