The Indiana state budget recently passed without the necessary funding for the Hoosier State passenger train service between Indianapolis and Chicago. Under these circumstances, the last day this service will run is June 30, 2019.
This was a disappointing outcome, but it's important to continue to send a strong message to Indiana elected officials to invest in passenger rail.
Eliminating the Hoosier State passenger train cuts service from running 7 days a week to only 3 days a week provided by the long distance Cardinal service. Indiana state officials need to look at investing in options to replace and improve the service lost with the cut of the Hoosier State service.
The Indianapolis-Chicago rail corridor connects the two largest cities in the Midwest, making key stops at Crawfordsville (Wabash College) and Lafayette (Purdue University) on the way. The state should aggressively invest in this route with a goal of at least five daily round trips and a trip time under three hours. The train would be a clear winner over driving I-65 and would become the first step in a statewide network centered in Indianapolis.
Fast trains are needed to compete for next-generation jobs and this-generation college students.
The State of Indiana should partner with CSX and NICTD (provider of the South Shore service) to create and fund a plan to make the corridor shine. Instead, Indiana continues to limit their passenger rail funding to NICTD and invest heavily in highways, leaving most of the State with insufficient travel options.