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INDOT and Amtrak Still At Odds As Deadline Passes

Amtrak train on tracks.

Photo: Jack Snell (Flickr)

Federal funding for the Hoosier State Line will end October 1.

Last night’s midnight deadline for Amtrak and the state department of transposition to reach an agreement to fund the Hoosier State line came and went without a deal.

In a statement Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari wrote:  “We are in talks with INDOT for a short-term agreement to prevent a Hoosier State service interruption by mid-October, so as to allow time to negotiate a longer-term contract.”

INDOT spokesperson Will Wingfield told WFIU/WTIU News last week the loss of $3 million in federal funding will hit October 16. In 2008, the federal government announced it would cut finding to rail lines less than 750 miles beginning in 2013.

Indiana is the only state in the Midwest affected by the loss of funding that has failed to reach an agreement with Amtrak to continue the rail service.

Wingfield said INDOT was willing to provide part of the funding, just not all of it.

“We’re looking to the local officials to help be part of that solution as well,” said Wingfield. “So we’ve had some very productive discussions from officials from all of the cities that have stops along the route and we’ve had productive discussions with Amtrak as well, but of course those discussions are still fluid and ongoing.”

INDOT released the results of a cost/benefit analysis last week.  It examined four different improvement scenarios and found that the cost of operating and maintaining the rail would range from nearly $4 million a year to $10 million year. On top of that, infrastructure improvements would cost another $230 million.

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