Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Indiana, Amtrak reach pact on Hoosier State

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Amtrak and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, that Amtrak's Hoosier State would continue to run for at least another year, with an option for four additional months.

The deal is the last among 19 individual states and Amtrak to resolve funding issues for train services spanning fewer than 750 miles. Congress mandated increased state support for most such trains, notably outside the Northeast Corridor, as part of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA).

Indiana's share of funding will come from the state Department of Transportation and from seven municipalities, including Indianapolis, Lafayette, and Crawfordsville.

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

Amtrak did not discontinue ticket sales for the Hoosier State, suggesting some confidence that an agreement would be reached before the Oct. 16 deadline.

The Hoosier State runs four days a week between Chicago and Indianapolis, the state capital, with the long-distance Cardinal also serving that stretch and other Indiana points points south of the state capital three days a week. Both trains also deliver Amtrak cars to and from the railroad's major maintenance facility at Beech Grove; potential discontinuance of the Hoosier State was seen by some industry observers as a hindrance to such maintenance work.