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Proposed Senate bill could launch Indiana passenger rail service

Rail service could connect Indiana cities
Posted at 11:45 PM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 23:45:18-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is already known as the Crossroads of America, but a new bill introduced in the State Senate could be the first step at also making The Hoosier State home to the 'crossrails' of America.

"We think we need to increase rail passenger service in Indiana because it's often times less money than an airplane," said Senator Dennis Kruse.

Indiana Senate Bill 9 proposed by the Republican Senator from Fort Wayne would establish the Indiana Passenger Rail Commission, an official government entity with legal authority to lay the groundwork for a passenger rail system, which would give Hoosiers another option to get around.

"We'd like to connect the major cities. It would be ideal to have Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and Evansville, and Louisville, Indianapolis, and Chicago. And we've got the South Shore going across the top already," Kruse said.

Northwest Indiana's South Shore Line could be the blueprint for future rail expansion across the state. The high speed, electric train connects South Bend to Downtown Chicago, a transit system that just received federal and state support to expand. Kruse says adding more transit options across the state is key to growth and attracting new jobs.

"There's a lot of communities that rely on train traffic to get back and forth to work. So, if you come to Indiana and we don't have that option as much as they do, then I think that's a detriment to our state at attracting new businesses."

A statewide passenger system is still several steps away from becoming a reality. The bill first must get a hearing in the state senate transportation committee, and much further down the line, the support and signature of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, who overall, supports expanding mass transit in Indiana beyond just the roads.

"I'm all aboard! I see it as beneficial," Holcomb said.