INDOT

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

When, earlier this week, a train derailed in downtown Crawfordsville, it brought to a head some of the concerns Mayor Todd Barton has lodged with the railroads that crisscross his city.

Sure, the tracks caused regular traffic jams before, and city leaders have long hoped for a railroad relocation project, but was this week’s incident the locomotive that broke the camel’s back?

We talk about that incident on this week’s Ask The Mayor program.

Uwe Mayer / flickr.com/photos/intermayer/

Small-town West Central Indiana commissioners say they’re happy about changes made to a state-issued matching grant intended for infrastructure work.

At a meeting in Crawfordsville Monday with Department of Transportation officials, Vermillion County Commissioner Tim Yocum said one of the new requirements – an asset management report – won’t require counties to hire pricey consultants.

“Most counties save $20,000, $30,000 or $40,000 by utilizing their own people,” Yocum says. “It seemed like the state was really trying to work with us to make this happen.”

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

This spring is dotted with important meetings in Crawfordsville – meetings which could help decide the near future of the city.

Whether it’s talking with state transportation leaders about how the city fits into the state’s long-term plans or meeting with parents concerned about greater incidence of students taking their own lives, the community has some important decisions to make.

This week on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor, we talk with Crawfordsville’s Todd Barton about the stakes for a town that’s hoping for a rebirth.

Chris Morisse Vizza/WBAA Radio

Two different messages delivered just one day apart at Purdue University’s annual “Road School” appear to indicate a disconnect between Governor Eric Holcomb and Holcomb’s newly appointed Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness.

McGuinness, who served five years as Mayor of Franklin, says he’s a local-minded person.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Indiana Department of Transportation officials say an unreasonable request led to Iowa Pacific Holdings removing itself from a deal to run the Hoosier State passenger train.

But Iowa Pacific’s CEO says a quirk in the contracts between his company, INDOT and Amtrak doomed the partnership.

Ed Ellis says his firm’s compensation from the deal decreased each time on-time performance improved.

“The way the contracts worked, we ended up getting less money as the train ran more on time,” Ellis says.

flickr.comphotosahtd15958129784

Expect hazardous travel conditions due to freezing rain falling through the weekend in Greater Lafayette and Central Indiana.

The National Weather Service issued a freezing rain advisory from 7 p.m. Friday until 1 p.m. Sunday, warning drivers and pedestrians to think twice before heading outside.

Forecasters expect rain to change over to freezing rain Friday evening through Saturday morning with the overnight low temperature in the mid-20s.

A second round of freezing rain is expected Saturday night through Sunday morning.

City of Frankfort

The city of Frankfort long ago identified State Road 28 as an area of concern.

The state department of transportation gave the road a topcoat of asphalt not long ago, but didn’t fix the underlying problems, pushing them off until 2019.

Now the city is trying to plan for that construction, but should it be worried the state will again kick the can down the pothole-laden road? We put that to Chris McBarnes on this edition of Ask The Mayor.

Chris Morisse Vizza/WBAA

A clearer picture of the progress and the challenges for the Hoosier State passenger rail service is emerging as the books close on Amtrak’s first fiscal year of operating the route in conjunction with the state, the cities served by the line, and private contractor Iowa Pacific Holdings.

At the end of August, Amtrak reported ticket sales of $886,000 for the first 11 months of the 2016 fiscal year, a 30 percent increase over the previous year.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA

In the crossroads of America, it's pretty easy to get around by driving or flying. But if you want to take the train, your options are limited.

Now, public-private deals such as the Hoosier State train are trying to change that.

Proponents of more rail service hope the Indianapolis-to-Chicago line so far will help prove their point to lawmakers.

On a Friday morning, the Hoosier State train is snaking north between Dyer and the Illinois state line. About 90 passengers sleep in their seats, eat breakfast in the dining car or use free WiFi.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

As WBAA tried to report on the fiscal situation with the Hoosier State Line, we were left to extrapolate whether the train was finally in the black financially.

Turns out we're not alone.

Pages