Amtrak executives embarked on a whistle-stop campaign from Indianapolis to Chicago Wednesday, pushing for the state to fund the Hoosier State rail line and pushing the state’s preferred operator, Corridor Capital, to be more communicative.
Amtrak brass have four months to convince the state to keep funding the Hoosier State line. Wednesday, they introduced WiFi internet to the line – a technology many other buses and trains have had for some time and an improvement that has been promised by Corridor Capital, the Chicago-based firm the state has chosen as its preferred vendor of rail service.
Corridor Capital was originally supposed to start running the trains on October first, but when the cities along the line agreed to fund four more months of Amtrak service, that timetable was delayed. Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman says he wants the federally-funded train service to continue, rather than a private firm taking any part of the line over.
“We don’t have any relationship with Corridor Capital," he says. "They have never talked to us about anything that they’re going to do or not do. And that’s part of our concern.”
State Rep. Randy Truitt (R-West Lafayette) says he hopes to make the case to his fellow lawmakers and to governor Mike Pence that spending money on bettering rail service is not a subsidy to Amtrak, but an investment in the state’s economy and business climate. He has from now until the end of the first month of the legislative session to make his pitch. At the end of January, local funding for the line runs out.