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INDOT breaks off negotiations on Amtrak rail service

November 9, 2014

The Indiana Department of Transportation has ended contract negotiations with a private contractor to provide passenger rail cars, marketing and other services between Indianapolis and Chicago and is looking at options to continue the service after the state's contract with Amtrak expires Jan. 31.

INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield told the Journal and Courier the state has requested an estimate from Amtrak on the cost to continue to provide the existing service without certain elements, such as onboard services and marketing.

Wingfield declined comment on why negotiations ended with Chicago-based Corridor Capital LLC.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the rail passenger service submitted a contract renewal to the state in April for the current service model and has offered to work with the state. But he said time is running out.

Amtrak announced last week that ridership and revenue were up across the country during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. But the Hoosier State line that runs from Indianapolis to Chicago saw a 10-percent decline in revenue and a nearly 8-percent drop in ridership.

INDOT and seven local partners, including Indianapolis, Lafayette and Crawfordsville, agreed to pay Amtrak a $2.7 million subsidy to keep the Hoosier State line running for one year last October. INDOT and those communities are now funding the line through Jan. 31 under a four-month extension.

After that,  Corridor Capital was supposed to take over management under an agreement that had yet to be finalized.

IBJ reported Oct. 24 that INDOT and Corridor Capital were having a difficult time reaching an agreement.

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