CHICAGO – FORT WAYNE – COLUMBUS PASSENGER RAIL

OVERVIEW:

  • The Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus corridor will provide high-quality passenger rail service to the citizens of Chicago, Northern Indiana, and Central Ohio and will offer: o Safe, comfortable and reliable service with amenities that include free Wi-Fi, charging stations and food service; o Connections to 100 Midwest cities through a regional rail network; and o Access to major economic opportunities for both small and large businesses.
  • Initial implementation will utilize existing railroad tracks and should require minimal infrastructure improvements along the route.
  • Several communities with scheduled stops along the route intend to re-establish existing historical train stations.
  • The rail service will operate under a Public-Private Partnership operation model that includes a cost-share program among state and local governments.

SUPPORT:

  • The mayors of nine cities along the route and the Indiana Department of Transportation have entered in to a Memorandum of Agreement to facilitate the development and implementation of passenger rail service.
  • The Federal Railroad Administration has recognized the Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus route and has granted approval to proceed with the Environmental Assessment required under the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • Greater Fort Wayne, INC. recognized the Fort Wayne to Chicago passenger rail line as a priority for their 2017 legislative agenda.
  • Indiana Governor-elect Eric Holcomb expressed satisfaction and praise for the improved service and operation model of the Hoosier State when he participated in the Hoosier Train Day trip on June 9, 2016.

ECONOMIC BENEFITS:
The following economic benefits were presented in the Northern Indiana/Ohio Passenger Rail Corridor Feasibility Study and Business Plan, prepared by Transportation Economics & Management Systems, Inc. (TEMS) and available at www.niprarail.org.

  • Household income benefits of $7.1 billion.
  • Federal and State income tax benefits of $1.24 billion.
  • Residential property tax benefits of $679 million.
  • Residential property value increases of $2.6 billion.
  • Long-term job creation is projected to produce more than 26,000 jobs.
  • Temporary construction jobs are estimated at 12,000 per year for the five years of construction.

PASSENGER AND COMMUNITY BENEFITS:

  • Passenger rail reduces dependence on foreign oil, protects the environment and is an ecologically responsible way to utilize land and natural resources.
  • Traveling by train offers passengers a transportation option that is usually less expensive than traveling by car or airplane.
  • Passenger rail reduces road congestion as well as the need for additional traffic lanes.
  • The availability of transit and passenger rail is becoming increasingly important, especially among the baby boomer and millennial generations.
  • Local communities in Michigan report an estimated $15.7 million annually in beneficial expenditures by Amtrak passengers using passenger stations and nearby amenities.
  • The Missouri Department of Transportation states that the Missouri River Runner has supported downtown development within each of its ten stops, from Kirkwood which has built its downtown entirely around their station to Kansas City connecting passengers to local attractions with an intercity streetcar service.

“Railroads own the railroads and all of the fixed costs. Airlines, shipping and trucking companies don’t own airports, harbors and freeways. To put passenger rail service on a level playing field with other transportation services government spending should improve rail infrastructure not subsidize operations….A good service is efficient and will be well patronized and require little to no subsidy. To make this happen we need more rail infrastructure spending.” Noel Braymer, RailPAC