Friday, July 25, 2014

Indiana(polis) spat may sink Hoosier State

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Amtrak's Hoosier State, linking Indianapolis with Chicago four days a week, may be terminated due to the state capital's reluctance to provide operating funding support.

Should Indianapolis fail to renew its funding, which it has supplied for one year, service could end even though a new vendor recently was selected to continue service on the route. Late last month Indiana's Department of Transportation has selected Chicago-based Corridor Capital, LLC, to assume management and operating duties as of Oct. 1, 2014.

"[Indianapolis officials] have told me they are not interested in doing it next year, and take that as a final no," said Bob Zier, Indiana DOT's director of multimodal program and planning, told local media. Indianapolis contributed $300,000 in the past year to keep ther service running.

That decision doesn't necessarily sit well with other municipalities served by Hoosier State. "InDOT has worked very hard to secure this line. Indianapolis needs to step up," Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton said in reaction to the state capital's decision. "It's in the interest of the entire state. This can really help us grow."

The Hoosier State also stops at Lafayette, Rensselaer, and Dyer, Ind. All five Indiana cities are linked to Chicago three days a week with Amtrak's Cardinal, a long-distance train not affected by the current funding crisis.