The General Assembly provided $6 million in one-time money from the last state budget for the Hoosier State Rail Line between Indianapolis and Chicago. And lawmakers were prepared to provide that funding again in this year’s budget.
But private partner Iowa Pacific Holdings is now out of the picture – and Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) acknowledges much of what it contributed was better service.
“It’s comfortable, you don’t have to worry about traffic, you can get work done, you get something to eat, you have Wi-Fi – all those things help the value proposition of the train,” Hershman says.
Hershman adds he hopes the state’s remaining partner, Amtrak, can ensure those amenities remain.
House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) is a little dubious.
“We know that performance under Amtrak wasn’t what we wanted,” Brown says. “We got better performance out of Iowa Pacific and I don’t know if there’s another vendor out there but we’ll just have to have more talk about this.”
Brown will unveil the House Republican budget later this month.