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INDOT begins Hoosier State negotiations with Amtrak

The Indiana Department of Transportation is negotiating now with Amtrak on continuing the Hoosier State Line. Federal funds run out October 1st for the four-days-a-week service between Chicago and Indianapolis.

An INDOT spokesman says more information will be revealed Thursday during a joint study committee of the legislature on transportation issues. The hearing includes testimony from local leaders along the Hoosier State Line.

Lafayette mayor Tony Roswarski is one of those scheduled to speak. He says they’ve made substantial progress the past few weeks working with Amtrak and the state.

“(There’s agreement on) Amtrak buy-in, local participation and some sense of vision for the future. Or, if we don’t reach certain benchmarks and milestones that we all agree to, then the next step would be that it’s just not viable to continue to do it.

At Thursday’s meeting, INDOT will share a cost-benefit analysis of the existing service and four options Amtrak provided for improved frequency and departure times. The annual operating cost for the Hoosier State Line is nearly $3 million.

Roswarski says an increase in ticket prices has been discussed to help cover operating costs.

“My opinion is those fares could be increased a little bit, if there’s more service, it’s reliable, and you have a greater opportunity to get there on time,” he says. “It’s still a very good deal compared to driving and parking and fighting traffic.”

Besides Chicago and Indianapolis, the Hoosier State Line has stops in Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer, and Dyer.

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