Amtrak

Lafayette Mayor's Office

Cold weather conjures many seasonal thoughts in Lafayette: everything from buying holiday gifts to road work.

We address some of those topics on this week's Ask The Mayor with Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski, wherein we’ll also try to forecast the legislative session. Is there enough money in the budget for Lafayette – and does that money have strings for city officials?

Also in the first month of the legislative session, the state hits a deadline to decide if it’s going to keep Amtrak service running through Lafayette.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Amtrak could maintain operations of the passenger rail line from Indianapolis to Chicago after negotiations broke down this weekend between the Indiana Department of Transportation and prospective operator Corridor Capital.

Amtrak has a contract to provide daily service on the Hoosier State Line through Jan. 31. INDOT was looking to Corridor Capital to take over after that in hopes it could improve service on the line, which has consistently operated in the red.

James Britton / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jbritton/2830693569

Ridership on the Hoosier State Rail Line dropped nearly eight-percent over the last year, while ticket revenues declined more than ten-percent.

Ridership on Amtrak lines across the country rose in the last fiscal year, which ended in September.  But on the Hoosier State Line, which runs from Chicago to Indianapolis, ridership fell by nearly 3,000 people, down to just less than 34,000. 

And ticket revenues dropped nearly $100,000, settling at a little more than $800,000 last year. 

City of West Lafayette

West Lafayette mayor John Dennis says there are still improvements to make in the way law enforcement deals with domestic violence situations, but he’s not sure that should include enhanced mandatory minimum sentences.

"If there's an understanding that there is a definitive penalty -- a non-defensible penalty -- for a specific act, does that enhance the severity of that act? And it's a question that we as a society don't really know yet," Dennis says.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

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.

City of West Lafayette

Some questions for the mayor on this month's program:

Since we spoke last month, it seems the mayors of the cities along the Amtrak corridor from Indy to Chicago have gotten noticeably more pessimistic about its future. Todd Barton told me two weeks ago on this program he thinks it’s dead in October. Is that now your thinking, too?

Your office is moving, at least temporarily, to Morton Center. Are you doing a site comparison between there and the mold-ridden city hall?

James Britton / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jbritton/2830693569

Governor Mike Pence is noncommittal on whether Indiana will support the future of the Hoosier State Passenger Rail Line with state dollars.  Speaking to reporters Thursday, Pence shifted responsibility to local communities along the line that runs between Chicago and Indianapolis.

Federal funding for the Hoosier State Line was cut off last year.  The state and local communities along the line reached a temporary funding agreement that keeps the route running through October. 

Courtesy Crawfordsville Mayor's Office

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.

City of West Lafayette

Some questions for the mayor this week:

You’ve been critical of Amtrak’s Hoosier State service, even as the city has helped subsidize its continued operation during the past year. This week, it was announced a private firm in Chicago, Corridor Capital, is the preferred vendor to operate the line starting in October. Is that any better, in your estimation, than Amtrak running the trains?

Steven Vance / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/

A leading contender has emerged to replace Amtrak in operation of the Hoosier State passenger rail line, which runs between Chicago and Indianapolis. 

The state and local communities will now try to reach an agreement with Corridor Capital.

Federal funding for the Hoosier State Line ran out last year and the state, along with local communities along the line that include Lafayette, Indianapolis and Rensselaer, stepped in to subsidize it for a year. 

The state also began seeking proposals to improve the line and make it less costly to taxpayers. 

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