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INDOT seeks proposals to privatize Amtrak Chicago route

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The Indiana Department of Transportation is seeking bids from companies interested in operating train service run by Amtrak between Chicago and Indianapolis.

INDOT issued a news release Wednesday saying it and communities along the rail line are seeking to improve the Hoosier State passenger experience, increase the number of passengers and decrease operating costs by allowing more companies to bid for the service.

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

The state considered ending funding for the line last year, but communities along the line agreed to pitch in to help save the service for at least another year. Rides on the line are heavily subsidized by tax dollars.

Companies can submit proposals on all or some portion of the passenger rail service, including rising costs for the upkeep and maintenance of Indianapolis Union Station.

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  • Pick me
    I've got some old trains settin' in me backyard. Really, what private company would be suited to running a passenger rail service better than the agency that already does that? Are there private companies experienced in the business of running passenger rail lines?
  • Who needs this?
    Why would Indiana ever spend money on improving this rail line? We don't have any left after dropping $400 million on new roads! Who needs a dumb train anyway? More roads!
  • Now I Get it
    At first, your comment strikes one as completely irrelevant to anything in the article. Obviously you're not a Ballard fan and you failed to heap any shame on Daley, Emanuel or of course, Obama. But now it's clearer. Your suggestion is: why would anyone pay to take the train to Chicago to get murdered up there, when one could save the train fare and get murdered right here? I completely apologize for initially missing the relevancy.
  • Go'mint
    Isn't go'mint the answer these daze?
  • Mega bus
    I think the success of the MegaBus shows that there is a definate interest in low cost transportation to Chicago. If this was run by a private company that would make it easier to use it might be a success.
  • SHAME
    Shame on you Mayor Ballard... http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/04/02/indianapolis-murder-outbreak-double-number-in-chicago/
    • upgrades
      INDOT needs to fund upgrades to the rail lines to allow for faster trains. That will make the service more marketable, increase ridership, reduce highway congestion, etc.
    • Finally
      The line really needs this - happy to see some progress being made. Can't wait to have a convenient service between Indy and Chicago.

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