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Five Companies Submit Proposals To Improve Amtrak Line

Five companies, including Amtrak, have submitted proposals for how they can improve the rail line in an attempt to reduce costs while increasing ridership.

amtrak

Photo: Steve Baker (Flickr)

The proposals are aimed at improving service on the Amtrak line from Indianapolis to Chicago.

The state and local communities along the Hoosier State passenger rail line are considering five proposals aimed at improving  the rail line between Indianapolis and Chicago.

Federal support for the Hoosier State Line ran out last year and the state, along with local communities along the line that include Lafayette, Indianapolis and Rensselaer, stepped up to subsidize it.

Indiana is now seeking ways to improve the line through private partnerships, and four companies, in addition to Amtrak, which currently runs the line, have submitted proposals.

The bids are unlike typical construction proposals, which usually come down to construction costs and time. The state’s request was broader and its evaluation will be more subjective.

“The greatest opportunities are to increase ridership through marketing or through changing timing or perhaps on-time performance but we’ve seen on other services where Wi-Fi can help draw in more riders so they can be productive during the travel, so we’ve kept it wide open in the hopes that we can have some creative ideas,” Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Will Wingfield says.

Wingfield says reducing the cost to taxpayers will also be a major factor in determining which proposal to choose, as he says the Hoosier State Passenger Rail service has one of the highest per-passenger mile costs for taxpayers in the country.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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