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Future Of Hoosier State Line To Be Decided On This Week

The state and Amtrak needs to decide the future of the Hoosier State Line by Wednesday when funding runs out.

Amtrak train on tracks.

Photo: Jack Snell (Flickr)

The state and Amtrak needs to decide the future of the Hoosier State Line by Wednesday, when funding runs out.

An Indiana transportation official says a short-term deal to keep the Hoosier State passenger train line running is still possible before funding runs out this week.  But many details of the agreement are yet to be determined.

Congress decided in 2008 to cut off federal funding for passenger lines in more than a dozen states.  Indiana is the only state in the region that hasn’t reached an agreement with Amtrak.  Funding is expected to run out October 16 and officials are working on a short-term agreement that will keep the line running while long-term negotiations continue.  Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Will Wingfield says talks are progressing but points out they are complex.

“You know, there’s still some hurdles for us to cross just due to the fact that we have Amtrak and INDOT and local communities involved and we’re working to move everybody together in the same direction,” Wingfield says.

Wingfield says it’s too early to say where state money would come from to help pay for the agreement and adds they haven’t nailed down how long any deal would last. And he says he doesn’t know what Amtrak will do with the line if a deal can’t be reached by Wednesday.

“At times in the past they’ve told us that as long as we’re in good faith negotiations they would not terminate service but that’s really for them to say.”

When asked if the line will shut down if a deal is not reached by October 16th, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said “that’s probably not untrue.”

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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  • Shawn

    I rode the train last week. It was more comfortable and relaxing than a flight from O’Hare. More room, ability to run my electronics and no worries about my carry on. It cost $24! The only problem was that the train showed signs of being ignore. The tracks were rough, the trip took 5 hrs and I had only one option to head to Chicago and one option to head back to Indy. High Speed rail would fix a lot of those issues. Th Acela line between Boston and NYC is awesome.

    Let’s step up and create high speed through out the Midwest. When the drive time between cities is 4 hrs or less, a flight is a frustrating and uncomfortable trip. High speed rail can make these trips comfortable and easy. The only thing I have in this fight is the need to travel for work every week. Crowded highways are a huge pain in the butt. Make the stations nice, make the trains fast. People will get to love it in the post 9/11 travel world.

  • Al Iverson

    OMG, Acela-style service along this corridor would be fantastic. I live in Chicago and go to Indianapolis for work regularly. Not enough people seem to care about transit, though. So I don’t see it ever happening.

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