Photo: Mark Beeson (Flickr)
Federal funding for the Amtrak service between Chicago and Indianapolis ends next week. Keeping passenger rail service going on the Hoosier State Line will be a costly effort, according to the findings of a cost-benefit analysis the Indiana Department of Transportation commissioned.
The cost-benefit analysis looks at eliminating the line, keeping it as is, and four different improvement scenarios. The study finds operating and maintenance costs range from nearly $4 million a year to $10 million, and infrastructure improvement options total more than $230 million.
The report shows revenue scenarios under each improvement option still would not cover costs.
Purdue President Mitch Daniels says he’s not sure how important it is to keep the Hoosier State Line running, but thinks it’s an important transportation option for those who do use it.
“In all honesty that’s a very small number and a very small percentage,” Daniels said. “The line could be important beyond those numbers but the reason this is an issue is it’s a drain, all such lines are, we’re not picking on the Hoosier State. So if an agreement can be worked out and it sounds like people are working on it, I think that’d be good.”
Daniels says in the end, the Hoosier State Line will likely need a huge subsidy to keep running, which means people who don’t use the service will be paying for it.