Amtrak

Lafayette Mayor's Office

Much has already been written about Lafayette revamping its downtown Main Street this year – a project aimed at beautification and at luring more business to the area.

But this week on Ask The Mayor, we find out whether certain business owners are getting more bang for their buck than others are the new amenities are installed.

Also on this week's show: Amtrak officials are in Lafayette today to talk about improvements to the Hoosier State line.

Dave Dugdale / https://www.flickr.com/photos/davedugdale/

Indiana’s 2015 tax amnesty program surpassed its goal of collecting at least $90 million. 

That ensures funding for key state programs, including the Hoosier State passenger train that runs between Indianapolis and Chicago and stops in Lafayette. 

The two-month tax amnesty program generated $100 million from Hoosiers who owed back taxes and repaid them without penalties, interest or fines.  

Delinquent taxpayers have promised an additional $22 million through payment plans that run through June 2016. 

A Ride Aboard The 'New' Hoosier State Line

Sep 16, 2015
Barbara Brosher / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana’s Hoosier State Line is in its second month under a new operating agreement that promises to provide better service and more amenities to train riders.

After months of negotiations – and talks that dragged on longer than expected -- the state Department of Transportation reached a deal with Amtrak and Iowa Pacific to continue service on the line for at least the next two years.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Barbara Brosher took a ride on the train recently to see whether anything has changed, other than the cars and the engines.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Indiana has a new contract in place securing the future of the Hoosier State Rail Line for the next two years. 

The deal between the state, Amtrak and Iowa Pacific began Sunday after months of negotiation and uncertainty. 

Amtrak will operate the line running from Indianapolis to Chicago, while Iowa Pacific will be responsible for train equipment and maintenance.  The line will feature food service and free wi-fi internet.

If ticket sales don’t cover all expenses, Indiana will pay Amtrak the difference. 

Courtesy Crawfordsville Mayor's Office

Next week, Crawfordsville is set to celebrate the rebirth of the Hoosier State Amtrak line – assuming that comes to pass.

On this week’s Ask The Mayor, we talk with Todd Barton about how the city is preparing to embrace the trains – and whether their new operators still have work to do before residents can truly embrace mass transit.

Shortly after the new Amtrak service begins, site selectors from the lieutenant governor’s office will visit Crawfordsville to judge whether it’s worthy of a Stellar Communities grant.

Bill Shaw / indianapublicmedia.org/news

A Department of Justice investigation found that many of Amtrak’s facilities across the country don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including all 11 Indiana stations.

Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services, the state’s disability advocacy agency, is one of several organizations around the country that filed complaints against Amtrak with the Department of Justice.

The agency’s executive director Dawn Adams says the report it sent to the DOJ was based on extensive inspections of Amtrak stations after the state received numerous complaints.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/larry84988/5629533329
Larry Amaloo

  Local mayors say education and mass transit are two areas they’re glad to see getting more funding in the new two-year state budget passed this week.

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski (D) is especially pleased with the education funding.

Mark Beeson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mark242/

Supporters of the Hoosier State Passenger Rail Line experienced some nervy moments in the final day of session after funding for the line was seemingly zeroed out of the budget.  

Previous budget versions included six million dollars specifically for the Hoosier State Line…but the version released late Tuesday night didn’t seem to include it anymore.  Senate budget architect Luke Kenley says, instead, he put the six million into a bigger pot of money controlled by the Department of Transportation.

Purdue Athletics

We close out the first season of Off The Field With Morgan Burke today and as we do so, we take a look ahead.

Changes are coming to two of Purdue’s stadiums. Change may also be coming to how fans get to and from Purdue sporting events.

And if the campus hopes to change how diverse it is, could athletics lead the way?

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Indiana Department of Transportation officials have reached an agreement in principal with the Federal Railroad Administration to keep the “Hoosier State” Amtrak line running indefinitely.

The line, which has faced no fewer than four threats of closure in just the past six months, was set to cease operation at the end of this month if a deal wasn’t reached.

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