The Indiana Department of Transportation is holding stakeholder and public involvement meetings to get input on what to do with Amtrak’s Chicago-Lafayette-Indianapolis “Hoosier State” train service. Under federal law, states must take over the funding of train routes that are less than 750 miles long by Oct. 1, 2013. If they don’t, Amtrak will discontinue the trains. INDOT is considering whether to:
- Not support the trains;
- Continue the train service as-is (runs four times per week at speeds of less than 60 mph);
- Run more trains, speed them up to 79 mph with track and grade crossing improvements.
All Aboard Ohio asks you to contact Indiana officials and newspapers to seek a fourth option for consideration: extend a daily, 79 mph “Hoosier State” train service 100 miles southeast to Cincinnati via tracks now used only by the nighttime Amtrak “Cardinal” with stops at Indianapolis International Airport, Connersville, Oxford, Hamilton and downtown Cincinnati (Union Terminal). A route extended to Cincinnati could include these features, serve these markets and offer these benefits:
- Midwest Regional Rail Initiative studies show that the Chicago-Indianapolis-Cincinnati route would be the second-most cost-effective Midwest route in terms of ridership/revenues vs. operating costs (trailing only Chicago-Milwaukee-Twin Cities);
- Continued investment in this route to create multiple daily trains at 110 mph will produce significant economic benefits, including more than 2,000 jobs at Indianapolis, 700 jobs at Lafayette, and nearly 3,000 jobs at Cincinnati, while increasing property values near stations by an average of more $300 million;
- Indianapolis International Airport station will give rail access to an airport with domestic airfares at the national average, compared to Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky which has the nation’s second-highest domestic airfares (trailing only Anchorage, AK);
- Southeast Indiana has few other travel options to Amtrak which passes through here in the middle of the night and only three times per week;
- Cincinnati-Hamilton-Dayton area has 3 million people, many of whom seek to travel to Indianapolis and Chicago for business or pleasure;
- Enrollment at University of Cincinnati. Miami University, Xavier University, University of Dayton and others is nearly 100,000, many of whom come Indiana, Chicago and Midwest cities.
- Improve safety devices at road crossings between Indianapolis and Hamilton to increase train speeds to 79 mph;
- Potential daily schedule… NORTHBOUND: 6 a.m. depart from Cincinnati, 8 a.m. at Indianapolis, 9:30 a.m. at Lafayette, 11:30 a.m. arrive Chicago; SOUTHBOUND: 3 p.m. depart from Chicago, 7 p.m. at Lafayette, 8:30 p.m. at Indianapolis, 10:30 p.m. arrive Cincinnati, with faster service following more track, signal improvements including a faster route into the heart of Chicago;
- One-way fares on existing, but slower/nighttime trains are $20 Cincinnati-Indianapolis and $45 Cincinnati-Chicago.
All Aboard Ohio needs you to get involved today. First, review the presentations and information below….
Then, please write letters to public officials and newspaper editors in on-line communities. Keep your letters short (250 words or less). Here are two samples (these are only to give you some ideas; please use your own wording):
Submit letters to the editor of these newspapers:
Also, please write to Indiana Department of Transportation Legislative Affairs Director Abby Weingardt TODAY at AWeingardt@indot.IN.gov or call her at 317-234-8231 and tell her you want Indiana DOT to include a Cincinnati route extension as part of its Amtrak analysis.