(INDIANAPOLIS) – The Hoosier State train between Indy and Chicago is facing possible extinction, for the second time in four years.
Since 1998, Amtrak has run the train to and from Chicago four days a week, with stops in Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer and Dyer. It’s been part of the state budget since 2013, when federal support for short-haui trains ended. Governor Holcomb’s proposed budget would eliminate state support too, when the current contract ends June 30.
Indiana spends $3 million a year to run the train. Office of Management and Budget director Micah Vincent says there haven’t been enough riders or marketing to justify the expense.
Then-Governor Mike Pence’s administration proposed ending support for the train in 2015 but eventually reached a deal with Amtrak and a private contractor to continue service.
It’ll be up to legislators to decide whether to continue funding the train. Legislators on the State Budget Committee were focused on the bigger-ticket items in the budget Vincent unveiled Thursday and hadn’t noticed the elimination of the train. Lawmakers in both parties say they’ll need to review the issue, though Portage Senator Karen Tallian (D) says the savings isn’t very much.
Amtrak hasn’t responded to a request for comment.
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