Group Raising Money For Passenger Rail Study

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The Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance is calling for a study on proposed high-speed passenger rail service with stops in Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville and Cincinnati. The study will take about four months to complete, but won't begin until the group secures funding. September 24, 2014

News Release

LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The board of directors of the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance (IPRA) has voted to engage Transportation Economics and Management Systems, Inc, of Frederick, Maryland (TEMS), to prepare a business plan and economic impact study of a rail corridor that runs from Chicago to Cincinnati and to Louisville, by way of Dyer, Rensselaer, Lafayette, Crawfordsville, Indianapolis and Connersville.

The proposed study will cost between $150K and $200K, and will determine capital costs, the projected revenue and the operating expense of modern 21st Century passenger trains. The study will also include projections of the economic impact on the state and the various communities served by the trains. The study will be completed in about four months, once the funding is secured. The study is a prerequisite for an environmental impact study (EIS) of the corridor, and for securing the federal funding for capital improvements.

As a result, the Alliance will have a realistic estimate of the capital costs to be incurred by the infrastructure improvements; and which will support a 21st Century passenger rail operation in Indiana. Revenue and expense projections will also be used to predict the profitability of various combinations of the proposed speed and frequency of service. The end result will be a demonstration of the utility and economic viability of modern passenger rail across Indiana.

TEMS was chosen to compliment another passenger rail study it did in Indiana. The firm recently completed a feasibility study and business plan for the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association (NIPRA) which is headquartered in Fort Wayne. The focus of that study was a corridor from Chicago to Fort Wayne and Columbus. This study has since paved the way for an application to the Federal Rail Administration (FRA), sponsored by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), for matching funds for that corridor’s EIS.

This is a major undertaking for IPRA, which looks forward to presenting a document that will clearly demonstrate to the state of Indiana, the usefulness of modern a 21stCentury passenger rail development in the Chicago to Indianapolis and Cincinnati corridor, and also on to Louisville from Indianapolis.

The proposed service could then consist of several daily trains in each direction, and run up to 130mph. The service will also include modern travel amenities.

IPRA believes that improved rail passenger service must be a part of Indiana’s transportation vision. The airlines are moving away from short haul flights, and intercity highways are becoming increasingly congested. The addition of modern rail corridors would enhance the viability and reliability of the state’s transportation system.

Source: Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance