IBJNews

Indiana town balks at funding Amtrak line to Chicago

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A northern Indiana town served by an Amtrak line that runs between Indianapolis and Chicago is balking at chipping in money to a state-led plan that's kept the line running.

The Lake County town of Dyer is the sole holdout in the deal that will keep the Hoosier State passenger line operating for at least one year in response to a recent cutoff of federal funding.

Town Manager Rick Eberly said Dyer declined to contribute the $5,000 per month the Indiana Department of Transportation had sought from the town to help keep the Hoosier State running. Amtrak statistics show that 2,934 passengers got on and off trains in fiscal year 2013 at the Dyer platform.

"We just don't have the ridership to justify those kind of dollars," Eberly told The Times of Munster.

Despite the town's decision not to chip in, the Hoosier State will continue to stop at the Dyer platform.

Legislation Congress passed in 2008 halted funding this fall for passenger rail routes less than 750 miles long, costing Indiana $3 million in annual aid for the Hoosier State line, which runs four days per week between Chicago and Indianapolis.

But a deal announced in early October between INDOT and Amtrak calls for the state agency to provide a $2.7 million subsidy to keep the line running for one more year, with an option for an additional four months.

Rensselaer, Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and Beech Grove will put up about half the $2.7 million Indiana has pledged to subsidize the route, INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield said.

Rensselaer, whose stop has the fewest passengers of any of the five Indiana stops in fiscal year 2013 — 2,239 — decided it was in its best interest to help keep the Hoosier State running, said Mayor Stephen Wood said.

He said the city plans to use some of its share of the county's economic development income tax to pay the $1,500 per month INDOT requested, totaling $18,000 for the year.

Wood said St. Joseph College and the city's history as a rail center make the subsidy worth it.

"And we just felt if we lost Amtrak service, we would never get it back," he said.

Last month, Indianapolis said it would contribute $300,000 of federal transportation money to keep the line running.

Indianapolis' share is based on the local portion of ridership, which is about 44 percent, Department of Public Works spokeswoman Lesley Gordon said.

The 196-mile Hoosier State runs four days a week. Amtrak service from Indianapolis to Chicago the rest of the week is available via the Cardinal line to New York.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Leave thy neighbor
    And therein lies the absurdity of the plan foisted off onto state and city governments by the crackpot Republicans in Congress. By refusing to pay their share, one town can jeopardize rail service for the citizens in another dozen towns. People of Dyer: What goes around, comes around!
  • Well...
    ... if the town of Dyer doesn't want to contribute, I don't feel they should. And I also don't think that the train should stop there any longer, either. Let those 2,934 riders make there way to the nearest town that DOES still have a stop.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Gay marriage is coming, whether or not these bigots and zealots like it or not. We must work to ensure future generations remember the likes of Greg Zoeller like they do the racists of our past...in shame.

  2. Perhaps a diagram of all the network connections of all politicians to their supporters and those who are elite/wealthy and how they have voted on bills that may have benefited their supporters. The truth may hurt, but there are no non-disclosures in government.

  3. I'm sure these lawyers were having problems coming up with any non-religious reason to ban same-sex marriage. I've asked proponents of this ban the question many times and the only answers I have received were religious reasons. Quite often the reason had to do with marriage to a pet or marriage between a group even though those have nothing at all to do with this. I'm looking forward to less discrimination in our state soon!

  4. They never let go of the "make babies" argument. It fails instantaneously because a considerable percentage of heterosexual marriages don't produce any children either. Although if someone wants to pass a law that any couple, heterosexual or homosexual, cannot be legally married (and therefore not utilize all legal, financial, and tax benefits that come with it) until they have produced a biological child, that would be fun to see as a spectator. "All this is a reflection of biology," Fisher answered. "Men and women make babies, same-sex couples do not... we have to have a mechanism to regulate that, and marriage is that mechanism." The civil contract called marriage does NOTHING to regulate babymaking, whether purposefully or accidental. These conservatives really need to understand that sex education and access to birth control do far more to regulate babymaking in this country. Moreover, last I checked, same-sex couples can make babies in a variety of ways, and none of them are by accident. Same-sex couples often foster and adopt the children produced by the many accidental pregnancies from mixed-sex couples who have failed at self-regulating their babymaking capabilities.

  5. Every parent I know with kids from 6 -12 has 98.3 on its car radio all the time!! Even when my daughter isn't in the car I sometimes forget to change stations. Not everybody wants to pay for satellite radio. This will be a huge disappointment to my 9 year old. And to me - there's so many songs on the radio that I don't want her listening to.

ADVERTISEMENT