Crawfordsville’s mayor says he believes Amtrak’s Hoosier State rail line will cease operation in October unless the state – not just the cities along the route – kicks in more money.
The Hoosier State line is Amtrak’s least-ridden nationwide. That means it’s hard for the line to be financially self-sustaining. Even with a private firm, Corridor Capital, named the state’s preferred bidder to operate the line as of October 1, Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton says he doesn’t see how they could without more state funding or the city of Indianapolis going back on its pledge to stop giving the $25,000 a month it currently does to run the trains.
“I think it will die unless one of the two step up,” Barton says. “And we really need the governor to step up. We can talk about the state legislature all we want, but in reality this could be dead and gone before they ever go back to work.”
Barton also says the cities of Dyer and Beech Grove, which benefit from a stop along the line and a large Amtrak repair facility respectively, could show financial support, which they haven’t in the past.
Barton says it's difficult to ask his city council for money if it appears Crawfordsville is shouldering more than its fair share of the financial burden.
“It’s tough for us to go back and ask our councils for support when we have the City of Indianapolis – who benefits greatly from this – not participating," he says. "We have the City of Beech Grove not participating. They’re not on the route, but they benefit with all the jobs. And unfortunately we have the City of Dyer not participating and still have a stop. So that makes it tough for us to sell it at home.”
Indianapolis, Rensselaer, West Lafayette, Lafayette and Crawfordsville each made special appropriations during the last year to keep the trains running each day. Amtrak does operate another train, The Cardinal, along the same track three days a week.