Hoosier State line

Lafayette Mayor's Office

Much has already been written about Lafayette revamping its downtown Main Street this year – a project aimed at beautification and at luring more business to the area.

But this week on Ask The Mayor, we find out whether certain business owners are getting more bang for their buck than others are the new amenities are installed.

Also on this week's show: Amtrak officials are in Lafayette today to talk about improvements to the Hoosier State line.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

With almost half the state’s funding for the Hoosier State rail line exhausted, leaders Thursday tried to rally support for increasing the frequency of the trains – even though they have no clue how they’ll pay for it.

A special train, run by Iowa Pacific between Indianapolis and Lafayette, sought to gin up interest for, as Iowa Pacific CEO Ed Ellis put it, as many as 15 trains a day along the route.

Truitt To Retire, Clears Path For Others

Jan 26, 2016
House Republican Caucus

State Representative Randy Truitt (R-West Lafayette) says he will not run for reelection.

Truitt says he’s worked the past eight years serving Indiana families and businesses as the representative from Indiana House District 26, but says he wants to spend more time with his wife and three children.

All 50 state Representatives are up for election this year.

Truitt is announcing his retirement early in the campaign cycle to make way for someone else.

State Tax Amnesty Collections Exceed $137 Million

Dec 14, 2015
Phillip Ingham / https://www.flickr.com/photos/phillip/345829246

The total in delinquent tax payments collected through Indiana’s tax amnesty program continues to increase as the state processes payments. 

When the state closed its tax amnesty period – which allowed people to pay back taxes without penalties, interest or fines – it announced it had collected about $100 million, with another $21 million promised by June through payment plans. 

Dave Dugdale / https://www.flickr.com/photos/davedugdale/

Indiana’s 2015 tax amnesty program surpassed its goal of collecting at least $90 million. 

That ensures funding for key state programs, including the Hoosier State passenger train that runs between Indianapolis and Chicago and stops in Lafayette. 

The two-month tax amnesty program generated $100 million from Hoosiers who owed back taxes and repaid them without penalties, interest or fines.  

Delinquent taxpayers have promised an additional $22 million through payment plans that run through June 2016. 

Indiana Begins Its Second Tax Amnesty Program

Sep 16, 2015
Chris Potter / https://www.flickr.com/photos/86530412@N02/

Hoosiers now have a two-month window to pay off back taxes without any penalties, fines or interest, through Indiana’s Tax Amnesty program, which runs until November 16.

Department of Revenue Commissioner Andrew Kossack says more than 260,000 people are eligible for the tax amnesty program and will be sent letters notifying them of the opportunity.  He says the program is particularly useful for taxpayers with old debts.

A Ride Aboard The 'New' Hoosier State Line

Sep 16, 2015
Barbara Brosher / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana’s Hoosier State Line is in its second month under a new operating agreement that promises to provide better service and more amenities to train riders.

After months of negotiations – and talks that dragged on longer than expected -- the state Department of Transportation reached a deal with Amtrak and Iowa Pacific to continue service on the line for at least the next two years.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Barbara Brosher took a ride on the train recently to see whether anything has changed, other than the cars and the engines.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Indiana has a new contract in place securing the future of the Hoosier State Rail Line for the next two years. 

The deal between the state, Amtrak and Iowa Pacific began Sunday after months of negotiation and uncertainty. 

Amtrak will operate the line running from Indianapolis to Chicago, while Iowa Pacific will be responsible for train equipment and maintenance.  The line will feature food service and free wi-fi internet.

If ticket sales don’t cover all expenses, Indiana will pay Amtrak the difference. 

Courtesy Crawfordsville Mayor's Office

To paraphrase Norma Desmond, Crawfordsville is ready for its close-up. But before officials from the Lieutenant Governor’s office visit the city in the waning days of this month, we take one more opportunity to ask Mayor Todd Barton what he’s got up his sleeve – and whether he’s scouting the competition to see if there are any areas where he might gain an extra edge.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The casual rider of the Hoosier State Line probably didn’t expect any changes on July 1 as an Amtrak-branded engine and set of cars rolled through Lafayette on its way to Chicago.

But instead of the red, blue and gray Amtrak paint job, passengers were supposed to see the brown and orange paint job of Iowa Pacific rolling stock.

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