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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