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INDOT chooses Chicago firm for Amtrak line

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The Indiana Department of Transportation said Monday that it selected Corridor Capital LLC of Chicago to run the endangered Hoosier State passenger rail line from Indianapolis to Chicago.

Corridor Capital beat out proposals made earlier this year from three other companies.

It remains to be seen, however, what difference the firm will make in service and at what cost. INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield said the state would not share the details of Corridor Capital's proposal until a contract is in place.

The contract is pending approval by communities along the Hoosier State route that pitched in last fall to keep the service going for another year. The communities, which include Indianapolis and Lafayette, would have to continue supporting the service.

Corridor Capital Chairman James Coston did not return a message seeking comment. The firm compares itself to a real estate developer because it assembles the necessary talent and resources for passenger service projects.

Under the state’s request for proposals, Corridor Capital would pick up where Amtrak left off with the Hoosier State, operating four times a week, but at an improved level of service, possibly with wi-fi access, food service and on-time performance.

Corridor beat out Iowa Pacific Holdings LLC, Herzog Transit Inc. and Travel Train Holdings Inc.

INDOT treated the selection process the same as if it were hiring a consultant, so it was not based on the lowest bid, Wingfield said. According to the scoring sheets released by INDOT, Corridor ranked high on its knowledge of passenger rail service; realistic nature of plans for improvement; realistic financing plan; plan to work with Amtrak, which did not respond to the RFP; and ability to work with freight railroads on rerouting the Hoosier State through the Chicago area.

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  • Focus on what's important
    Is there anyone other than me that would forgo wi-fi and food for more frequent service and trip time of 3 hours at the most? They're honing in on passenger rail amenities without even telling us how they're going to give passenger rail basics. For the business travelers, I get that wi-fi is necessary. But being able to leave Chicago at 8 am to reach a business luncheon in Indy on time at 12:30 pm is probably more important. I'm glad they found someone to take over the line. Now if someone would be willing to take over Indianapolis Union Station and I don't know, maybe turn it back into the union station it used to be when it was servicing frequent trains, then we'd have a lot more to be excited about.
  • High Speed Rail Already
    This should be part of a regionally integrated high speed rail line, but it's not. The rest of the world seems to be moving Rail into the 21st Century except the United States. If you look into the origins of the expansion of Highways and Auto-domination in the mid 20th Century you will see the movement essentially killed passenger rail travel. It wasn't economics as much as it was a methodical gutting of a very viable system and we are looking at it's skeleton. High Speed Rail should be on the table. Chicago / Indy / Cincy / Louisville / Detroit / St Louis / Cleveland / Columbus all connected by a Main Line or offshoots. The Main Line connected to an East Coast system for starters and then branching to the South and South Central Regions. The rail bed/map is there, but the politics and lobbyists will be a major obstacle for years to come.

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  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

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