The Indiana Department of Transportation expects Amtrak and private companies throughout the country to submit bids to operate all or part of the Hoosier State Line. The service was federally defunded last year, but several communities pumped in money to keep it operating. That funding was for one year. INDOT Spokesman Will Wingfield says the state hopes to have a deal in place before agreements to support the service run out. INDOT says Amtrak will continue to have a role in the Hoosier State line no matter who is chosen to run the service, which could include logistics and schedule coordination.
April 2, 2014
Indianapolis, Ind. – In conjunction with its local community partners, the Indiana Department of Transportation has published a request for proposals to improve the Hoosier State passenger rail service, which operates between Indianapolis and Chicago four days each week.
The document is available at www.in.gov/indot/2730.htm by clicking on the “RFPs Currently Advertised” link. Proposals are due Tuesday, April 29.
The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act ended federal support for certain Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles. In October, Governor Mike Pence announced an agreement to keep the Hoosier State operating for one year in partnership with Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, Rensselaer, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and Beech Grove.
INDOT and the communities seek to improve the Hoosier State passenger experience, increase the number of passengers on the train and decrease train operating costs by opening the operation of the train to competition from private operators in addition to Amtrak. The Act allows states to contract with independent providers or Amtrak to operate the trains that they now help subsidize.
Operators may offer to take on all or some portion of the Hoosier State passenger rail service, including upkeep and maintenance of Indianapolis Union Station.
No disruption in service is anticipated as a result of the RFP. To purchase tickets to ride the Hoosier State, call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) or visit www.amtrak.com/cardinal-hoosier-state-train. To learn about how tax dollars support the Hoosier State passenger rail service, visit www.in.gov/indot/3200.htm.
Source: Indiana Department of Transportation