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The Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance's (IPRA) board on Wednesday voted to hire Transportation Economics and Management Systems Inc. (TEMS) to prepare a business plan and economic study of a passenger-rail corridor from Chicago to Cincinnati to Louisville, Ky.The route would run between the three major cities by way of the following Indiana cities: Dyer, Rensselaer, Lafayette, Crawfordsville, Indianapolis and Connersville. Funding has yet to be raised for the proposed study, which would cost $150,000 to $200,000, according to an IPRA press release.The study would determine capital costs, projected revenue and operating expenses of a high-speed rail system. It also would include projections of the economic impact on Indiana and the communities along the route. The study is a prerequisite for an environmental impact study (EIS) of the corridor, and for securing the federal funding for capital improvements.TEMS was chosen to conduct the new study to complement the firm's recently completed feasibility study and business plan for the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association in Fort Wayne. The study focused on a corridor from Chicago to Fort Wayne and Columbus. Sponsored by the Indiana Department of Transportation, that study has since paved the way for an application to the Federal Railroad Administration for matching funds for the corridor's environmental impact study.IPRA's board believes that improved passenger-rail service must be part of Indiana's transportation vision."The airlines are moving away from short haul flights, and intercity highways are becoming increasingly congested," board members said. "The addition of modern rail corridors would enhance the viability and reliability of the state’s transportation system."
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