Posts Tagged ‘Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance’

Groups Pushing For Indiana Passenger Rail Commission

February 3, 2020

Two Indiana-based passenger rail advocacy groups are pushing for the state to established a passenger rail commission.

The Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance and the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association said the proposed Indiana Passenger Rail Commission would focus on and coordinate the efforts of state advocacy and regional planning organizations to develop modern passenger-rail systems within Indiana.

The commission would include officials from the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.

The Indiana General Assembly would have to include the proposal to create the commission in its summer study sessions, which would allow the IPRA and NIPRA to have draft legislation ready to be introduced during a future General Assembly session.

Last Ditch Rally Seeks Hoosier State Funding

April 25, 2019

Backers of the beleaguered Hoosier State met at Amtrak’s Beech Grove shops in suburban Indianapolis on Wednesday in what they termed a last-ditch attempt to secure state funding for the train.

They met with elected officials hoping to somehow secure funding of the quad-weekly Chicago-Indianapolis train.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb recommended earlier this year ending the state’s $3 million funding for the service and neither chamber of the Indiana General Assembly has added funding to its version of the state’s biennium budget that will take effect July 1.

The budget is now being worked out by a House-Senate conference committee and is expected to be approved by April 29.

In the meantime, Amtrak has posted noticed that the Hoosier State will be suspended after that date.

Holcomb cited declining ridership, saying it fell 18 percent between 2014 and 2018.

But Steve Coxhead, president of the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance, said the train faces a dilemma because the state has done little to improve the service.

Coxhead said the route needs to have at least two roundtrips a day and possibly three in order to generate enough ridership to cover its operating costs.

Also attending the meeting were officials with Amtrak Midwest, Indianapolis and the Beech Grove shops.

Coxhead called the $3 million cost for the Hoosier State a relatively small part of a $34 billion budget.

“The governor is planning to spend something like $80 million on hiking and bike trails in the state and while there’s certainly nothing wrong with that and they’re probably needed, it seems disproportionate when you talk about what’s potentially the most important passenger rail corridor in the state,” he said.

Supporters of the train have argued that it generates about $10 million annually for local communities.

Greater Lafayette Commerce Transportation Chair Arvid Olson said nearly one-third of the Hoosier State ridership is to Purdue University in West Lafayette.

“For many of them, this is a lifeline to communication, especially for international students, this is their lifeline back to O’Hare to go international, back to the Pacific countries they come from,” said Olson.

Senator Ron Alting of Lafayette unsuccessfully sought to offer an amendment to restore Hoosier State funding.

Although he has continued to support efforts to save the Hoosier State, he said Wednesday’s rally might be a little too late.

“We are going to do a full court press and try to get out of here tomorrow night, so that means the budget will probably be printed and out no later than possibly noon tomorrow,” he said. “That’s going have to be put in that budget by noon tomorrow [Wednesday] or it’s probably not going to be put in.”

It was the second rally for the Hoosier State following one held at the Statehouse on April 17 that was sponsored by the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance.

All of the stations served by the Hoosier State will continue to have Amtrak service by the tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal.

Indiana Passenger Rail Group Pressuring Indianapolis to Fix Up Decrepit Union Station

February 9, 2017

The Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance is trying to pressure city officials into taking action to rehabilitate Indianapolis Union Station.

indianaThe facility, which is used by Amtrak and Greyhound, has been described by some rail advocates as a “civic embarrassment.”

The Rail Alliance has invited city leaders to meet with them to discuss how the station can be improved.

IPRA member Bill Malcolm said that the station is unwelcoming, unsightly and even scary.

“If it’s a turnoff to even go into that facility, people are not going to take advantage of it, [they won’t] take their families up to go shopping  . . . because it’s just kind of a frightening place,” Malcolm said.

The city’s department of Metropolitan Development operates the station, which is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal and the Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State.