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IN lawmakers eye funding for train service

Funding for Amtrak’s corridor route in the state becomes the responsibility of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) in October. A lack of dollars would impact the Hoosier State route that runs from Chicago to Indianapolis. It has stops in Dyer, Rensselaer, Lafayette and Crawfordsville.

State Representative Randy Truitt (R-West Lafayette) says he hosted a meeting of other lawmakers, Amtrak officials and representatives from INDOT recently to discuss funding options. He thinks not acting is doing a disservice to the state of Indiana.

“If we lost that corridor, we have no chance of ever expanding at all, to Evansville to Cincinnati, wherever it is that you want to go.”

He says Senator Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) authored an amendment to the Senate budget bill that allows INDOT to reallocate some of its funds to Amtrak.

Truitt thinks other lawmakers will support the Hoosier State line because it brings jobs and revenue to many parts of Indiana, and losing it would be a big economic loss.

“Beech Grove, Indiana, for Amtrak, is the furthest west hub for all repair activity for the Amtrak system, so they have hundreds of jobs, hundreds of million dollars’ worth of payroll tax and other types of things that are coming right through Indiana. So, they use that route to bring their cars down from all over the country.”

While he believes the meeting with lawmakers who wanted to know more about the issue went well, Truitt says the issue comes down to how the state would fund the Hoosier State line and operate it.

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