December 11, 2023

State awarded federal funding to improve rail service to Chicago, expand to Louisville

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The U.S. Department of Transportation is investing more than $8 billion into improvements and expansions of passenger rail service across the country. - Justin Hicks/IPB News

The U.S. Department of Transportation is investing more than $8 billion into improvements and expansions of passenger rail service across the country.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

The U.S. Department of Transportation is investing more than $8 billion into improvements and expansions of passenger rail service across the country.

Indiana will use its funding to study potential improvements to the Amtrak Cardinal line — which connects Indianapolis to Chicago — and a new, proposed corridor to connect Louisville and Indianapolis.

The Cardinal line currently runs from New York City to Chicago three times per week – on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It also stops in other cities, including a sometimes more than five-hour trip between Indianapolis and Chicago.

The new funding provides up to $500,000 to Amtrak to develop a new plan for daily service for all stops along the route. In addition to stops in Indianapolis, Chicago and New York City, the existing route also has stops in Cincinnati, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland and Pennsylvania.

This funding will be used to provide cost estimates and scheduling for daily services on this route moving forward.

READ MORE: Why are there not more passenger rail systems in Indiana? Advocacy groups, experts weigh in

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The Indiana Department of Transportation is also receiving $500,000 to schedule and estimate the cost of operating a daily route between Indianapolis and Chicago as part of Amtrak’s Corridor ID program. It aims to improve the service and travel time on the Cardinal line.

The Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency will also receive up to $500,000 in funding to develop a proposed corridor between Indianapolis and Louisville. KIPDA will be able to use this funding to develop cost and scheduling estimates to a route between Indianapolis and Louisville.

There has not been a line between Indianapolis and Louisville since the Kentucky Cardinal line was discontinued in 2003.

Some passenger rail officials call this a step in the right direction and said it will provide Americans with “alternatives to congested roads or airports.”

Violet is our daily news reporter. Contact her at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.

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