Deal reached to extend Indiana Amtrak service

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Indiana officials have reached an agreement to preserve Amtrak service on intermediate routes in the state, the Indianapolis Star reports

Amtrak’s “state-supported" routes, which are usually paid for by local officials, have fueled ridership growth for the national passenger rail service in recent years. 

The Indiana agreement calls for a four-month extension of service on Amtrak’s Hoosier State line, which runs between Indianapolis and Chicago, according to the report. 

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Indiana transportation officials said they were trying to keep the route viable until a private company could take over the cost of operating the short-distance trains.  

"For the Hoosier State, we are hoping to build from the experience of North Carolina's successful Piedmont service, in which the state and its private contractors worked with Amtrak to improve and grow passenger rail," Indiana Department of Transportation Multi-Modal Director Robert Zier said in a statement according to the report. 

Amtrak operates trains under similar state agreements in places like California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. 

The deals typically call for the states to pay for Amtrak to provide rail service on shorter routes within each state's borders. 

Amtrak said earlier last year that its state-supported routes were responsible for 15.4 million of its record 31.6 million passengers in the 2013 fiscal year.  

Amtrak operates 28 state-supported routes, in addition to its regular service on the populous Northeast corridor and its long-distance trains, which are heavily subsidized because they have traditionally lost money.

The company was allowed to contract with states to increase its service offerings by the 2008 Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which also includes the authorization for Amtrak's funding from the federal government.