The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and its local community partners have received four proposals to improve the Hoosier State passenger rail service between Indianapolis and Chicago.
The proposals submitted are from Corridor Capital LLC; Herzog Transit Services, Inc., and Passenger Transportation Specialists Inc.; Iowa Pacific Holdings Inc. and Railmark Holdings Inc. Amtrak is the provider of the service and previously submitted a proposal for 2014-2015.
The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act ended federal support for certain Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles. In October, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced an agreement to keep the Hoosier State operating four days each week in partnership with Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, Rensselaer, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and Beech Grove. The Act allows states to contract with independent providers or Amtrak to operate the trains that they now help subsidize.
“It is exciting and interesting to receive four proposals that look at the Hoosier State passenger rail service in different ways,” said INDOT chief of staff Troy Woodruff. “This private sector interest opens the door for other states and regions that are supporting passenger rail service.”
INDOT and the communities seek to improve the Hoosier State passenger experience, increase the number of passengers on the train and decrease train operating costs by opening the operation of the train to competition from private operators in addition to Amtrak. It is anticipated that the selected proposal will be announced this summer.