Legislative Panel Says Amtrak Needs Plan To Improve Service

Members of the panel say Amtrak needs to provide a plan to improve service before a long-term agreement is reached.

Legislators want to see improvements in service before a long-term agreement is reached.

Photo: Mark Beeson (Flickr)

Legislators want to see improvements in service before a long-term agreement is reached.

Members of a legislative panel say Indiana should not move forward with long-term funding of the Hoosier State passenger rail line until Amtrak provides a plan to improve service.

State and local officials agreed to a one-year funding deal with Amtrak Tuesday that will continue operations of the Hoosier State line, which runs from Chicago to Indianapolis.

Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, chairs the transportation study committee. He says the one-year deal buys time for the legislature to consider long-term funding solutions.

But Soliday says he doesn’t think the state should continue to help subsidize the rail service if Amtrak doesn’t provide an improvement plan.

“It’s okay to do the subsidy now if there’s hope for growth and making it more desirable for people to use,” he says. “But right now, it’s on-time service, it’s hour of service, it’s ridership. There’s got to be something that says, ‘We’re going to do it better.’”

The Hoosier State line carried a little more than 36,000 riders last year. Both state officials and Amtrak say the one-year deal will allow time for both sides to explore ways to improve service and boost ridership.

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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  • JackF

    Now does Indiana have anyone knowledgeable in passenger rail to begin to express there thoughts about proposed improvements to and expansion of the Hoosier State?
    Let them step forward and show everyone!

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