Since 2009, Fort Wayne Mayor Thomas Henry has allocated city funding and dedicated staffing resources to help us achieve our mission.
In just the past few years, NIPRA staged a series of large public rallies to urge Indiana to apply for Federal passenger rail funds.
NIPRA has and continues to vigorously lobby Amtrak, state legislators, and Indiana for funding to return passenger rail travel from and to Fort Wayne.
Since 2011, NIPRA has actively developed strategic partnerships creating new momentum with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to set up a designated passenger rail service route from Chicago, Illinois to Columbus, Ohio. By late 2015 a Memorandum of Agreement to support the activities necessary to complete the required analyses and studies of the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Study (EIS), had been signed by the Mayors of all nine cities along the corridor, the Indiana Department of Transportation, all five of the Metropolitan Planning Organizations along the corridor, as well as numerous City and County Councilman along the route.
In 2013, NIPRA completed a business impact study for the proposed passenger rail route using the consulting firm of Transportation Economics and Management, Inc. (TEMS). This study indicates that a Chicago-Columbus rail route provides an economically beneficial passenger link between the Federally-approved Chicago Gateway and the Ohio “3-C” (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati) rail corridors approved by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). A multi-state public and private partnership is required for rail corridor construction and operation. The proposed passenger rail routes provide an encouraging cost to benefit operating ratio and meet the FRA-mandated “independent utility” requirements for being economically self-sufficient without requiring ongoing additional funds from the FRA or partner states.
- Met with Senator David Long, State Representatives Phil GiaQuinta and Representative Ed Soliday (head of the Transportation Committee) to inform them of our project. They have all agree to support this next step moving forward on the study of the corridor
- Coordinated our efforts with Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission, Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance and All Aboard Ohio, to bring awareness to our project.
- Participated in Transit Day at Indiana State House.
- Provided presentations to several civic and political organizations.
- Met with key Amtrak staff.
- Developed a solid and supportive relationship with INDOT.
- Met with Northwest RDA Leadership to discuss support of our project.
- Joined Greater Fort Wayne, INC. and gained their support for our project.
- NIPRA board members took a trip to Chicago from Waterloo on the Amtrak train and returned to Lafayette on the Hoosier State train to compare the service. We now know with certainty that better customer service and modern amenities will be key to gaining ridership along our line.
- Provided updated articles on our project to the All Aboard Indiana publication.
- Contracted with HNTB to produce a preliminary data analysis and a portion of the Environmental Assessment work as outlined by the FRA.
- Attended the National RUN Conference at the upgraded Lafayette passenger rail station.
- Steel Dynamics INC (SDI) donated a total of $20,000, with the help of NIPRA board member Rob King
- Attended Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission meeting in St. Louis.
- Completed and approved revised bylaws.
- Revised and improved marketing and promotion efforts to our website.
- Discussed the reuse of the Baker Street Train Station as the stop for service in Fort Wayne, with owner Vic Martin of Martin-Riley, Mock.
- Mayor Tom Henry held a news conference announcing approval by the Federal Rail Administration for us to start the Environmental Assessment of the NEPA process.
- Attended a meeting with Congressman Jim Banks in Fort Wayne, IN.
- NIPRA signs contract with HNTB to develop reports to support planning decisions in the required National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document – Public Participation Plan, Purpose and Need Statement, Alternatives Analysis and Service Analysis.
- Attended a conference call with Bill Oedding and other government representatives from the Valparaiso area to discuss their passenger rail stop location and Transit Oriented Development (TOD).
- Informal discussion between Councilman Geoff Paddock and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb at the Electric Works (former General Electric Plant) project announcement.
- Meeting with Bill Hanna, President and CEO of Northwest Regional Development Authority to discuss previous commitment of matching funds.
- Meeting with Gary Mayor, Karen Freeman-Wilson to confirm stop location for Gary (Chicago-Gary Regional Airport) and to discuss financial support from Gary.
- Participated in Transit Day in Indianapolis, IN.
- Attended Third House District meeting at Greater Fort Wayne.
- Meeting 1 for the Midwest Regional Rail Planning Study; held in Chicago, IL. Board member Dorothy Hagan represented the interests of NIPRA and the City of Fort Wayne.
- Attended Northwest Passenger Rail meeting.
- NIPRA Board President, Fred Lanahan was interviewed regarding passenger rail service for WANE-TV.
- Attended Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance in Michigan City, Indiana
- Attended Annual meeting of the Midwest High Speed Rail in Chicago, IL.
- Attended meeting with Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Commissioner Joe McGuinness to update him on the progress of the corridor and to request his support.
- Attended INDOT Open House in Fort Wayne, IN.
- Participated in the National Train Day event in Toledo, OH.
- Hosted a corridor-wide meeting in Fort Wayne, IN to update partners on the progress of the corridor. Approximately 40 attendees, including representatives from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio
- Attended and presented at the Indiana Passenger Rail meeting held at Baker Street Station in Fort Wayne, IN.
- Meeting 2 of the Midwest Regional Rail Planning Study; held in St. Paul. Minnesota. Board Member Dorothy Hagan discussed the importance of Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus corridor with the rest of the selected planning committee.
- NIPRA participated in City of Fort Wayne Open Streets Day to discuss the importance of passenger rail with the attendees.
- Attended a meeting with Amtrak at Chicago Union Station to discuss contracting with Amtrak for service along the corridor.
- Attended the Michigan sponsored Regional Rail Conference in Kalamazoo, MI.
- Attended a meeting with Hodge Patel, aid to Senator Donnelly to discuss continued support of our corridor.
- Meeting 3 of the Midwest Regional Rail Planning Study; held in Detroit, Michigan. Board Member Dorothy Hagan provided input to further solidify Fort Wayne as a regional hub.
- Attended meeting with Columbia City Mayor, Ryan Daniel to discuss a possible passenger rail stop in Columbia City.
- Attended meeting with a staff member of Congressman Jim Banks in Huntertown, IN.
- Attended meeting with Amtrak representative in Plymouth, IN, to discuss collaboration on possible service provisions.
- NIPRA Board President, Fred Lanahan was interviewed regarding passenger rail service for Access Fort Wayne.
- Attended Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, (TMACOG) sponsored Passenger Rail Forum meeting in Toledo, OH.
- Attended meeting with Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry to provide an update on corridor progress.
- Presented to the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana to inform them on our corridor progress.
- Attended meeting with Amtrak representatives at Union Station, Chicago, to finalize request for service provisions.
- Meeting 4 of the Midwest Regional Rail Planning study; held Chicago, IL. Final recommendations were presented to the committee and the northern Indiana corridor was identified as a key regional network hub.
- Attended a meeting with Paul Lagemann, District Director for Congressman Jim Banks District, to provide an update on the progress of the corridor.
- Meeting with State Senator David Long in Indianapolis
- Meeting with Andre Bennin, Sr. Opns. Dir. for Gov. Holcomb
- Meeting with Brian Englehart at Indiana Tech
- Meeting with Jim Stark, INDOT at Indianapolis
- Meeting with Rep. Soliday in Indianapolis
- Board approves website upgrade
- Marketing Brochures approved by Board
- Meeting with Bill Hanna in Merrilville
- Board votes that station development will be borne by localities
- Tour of SDI rail plant
- Meeting with BSS owners to discuss NIPRA progress
- Meeting with INDOT to discuss NIPRA progress
- Lunch meeting with SDI members of NIPRA Board to discuss future
- NIPRA/HNTB public meeting, Lima, OH
- NIPRA/HNTB public meetings, Fort Wayne & Warsaw, IN
- NIPRA/HNTB public meeting, Valparaiso, IN
- Comm. updates Commissioner Nelson Peters on progress
- NIPRA received Sustainable Champion of the Year Award from HEC
- Hi-Rail trip Lima to Warsaw with CFE, GW, AMTRAK & HNTB
- Review of Hi-Rail Trip – HNTB, AMTRAK, NIPRA (phone conf.)