Hoosier State Line Could Lose Key Funding

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The future of passenger rail service between Indianapolis and Chicago appears to be in jeopardy. An Indiana Department of Transportation official says Indianapolis is ready to pull funding, about $300,000 a year, for the Hoosier State Line. Last year, INDOT and several communities along the route agreed to a financial rescue plan with Amtrak that would keep the line running through September. Indiana and the city partners have a four month option to extend the deal beyond September.

Zier tells Inside INdiana Business, "if we lose passenger rail service that we have today, I'm not sure we can get it back."

He says the state is still working with Indianapolis officials to determine why they aren't interested in contributing to the route. Zier says he would be "very disappointed" if an agreement can't be reached that includes future support from the Marion County city.

He says the train could operate in "reverse" to not only deliver Hoosiers to Chicago, but to bring economic development opportunities, business travelers and commerce back into the state.

Zier says the state is seeking corporate sponsors to help offset some costs. He says some ideas being discussed with Corridor Capital, CSX and Canadian National would include a faster train that has a "wow factor" for travelers and would knock up to 90 minutes off of travel times.

He says other concepts that involves "high-level capital investment" would shrink time between Indianapolis and Chicago to 2 or 2 1/2 hours and become the "premiere way of getting to Chicago."

Source: Inside INdiana Business