CSX

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

For Indiana cities, having a good relationship with railroad companies can help generate a lot of business. But trains can also clog cities, making drivers wait at blocked road crossings. Mayors have begun to fight freight railroads, who they say have too much power and not enough accountability.

City of Frankfort

The City of Frankfort has attracted some large employers in recent years, but still struggles to find college-educated employees to fill high-wage jobs.

So the city is taking a page out of the book of another Indiana municipality and offering grants to people who want to buy homes in the city.

On this week’s Ask The Mayor, we talk with Frankfort’s Chris McBarnes about whether the city can find the cash to increase the grant amounts and whether the city budget should even be used in such a way, when there’s little cash to spare anyhow.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

When, earlier this week, a train derailed in downtown Crawfordsville, it brought to a head some of the concerns Mayor Todd Barton has lodged with the railroads that crisscross his city.

Sure, the tracks caused regular traffic jams before, and city leaders have long hoped for a railroad relocation project, but was this week’s incident the locomotive that broke the camel’s back?

We talk about that incident on this week’s Ask The Mayor program.

Chris Morisse Vizza

Results are mixed one year into a two-year partnership involving the state, Amtrak, a private contractor and communities served by the Hoosier State passenger train.

The state’s goal has been to improve the route, attract more riders and generate more revenue to make the four-times-a-week round-trip service between Indianapolis and Chicago more self-sufficient.

WBAA’s Chris Morisse Vizza assess the progress thus far, and whether it’s enough to win continued funding from Indiana legislators.

Kenneth Spencer / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kendo26/5606710714

Crawfordsville’s mayor is organizing an informal social media campaign to put pressure on railroad operator CSX to pay more attention to the city.

Mayor Todd Barton, speaking Thursday on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor, encouraged Crawfordsville residents to phone CSX to complain about trains clogging intersections in the city.

But he says the idea of an angry phone call may be passé.

Courtesy Crawfordsville Mayor's Office

There’s an argument to be made that getting the Stellar Communities designation was the easy part for Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton.

This week on Ask The Mayor, we’ll find out from him whether the toughest parts – gathering money and implementing an ambitious plan -- are yet to come, and whether that puts significantly more pressure on him to deliver meaningful change during his second term in office.