Posts Tagged ‘Indiana Department of Transportation’

Bill Would Create Indiana Rail Commission

January 19, 2022

An Indiana Senate committee has approved a bill that would create a commission to study increased passenger rail operations in the state.

If adopted by the Indiana General Assembly, the commission would include representatives from the Indiana Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, the legislature, and rail advocacy organizations.

The commission would be given a mandate to study ways to expand the state rail system and use available federal funding to increase passenger service.

Scott Manning, deputy chief of staff for INDOT, said the timing of the bill is important give approval last year of federal legislation that includes funding for increased passenger rail.

2 Ohio Projects Receive Infrastructure Grants

September 22, 2021

Two Ohio projects will receive special consideration from the U.S. Department of Transportation Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program.

The projects are eligible to apply for credit assistance for up to 49 percent of costs.

The projects are City of Cincinnati, Western Hills Viaduct Replacement Project; and Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Route 7 grade crossing improvement.

Also designated was the Indiana Department of Transportation for the U.S. Route 36 Modern Rockville Road Project.

In a news release, USDOT said the Ohio and Indiana projects were among 44 projects that made it to the final round for funding under the 2021 INFRA competitive grant program, but were not awarded due to a combination of overwhelming demand for INFRA grants and limited funds.

Instead they will be designated as INFRA Extra projects and eligible to receive a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act credit.

USDOT received eligible INFRA applications from 42 states and Guam seeking a collective $6.8 billion in grant funds. That was nearly seven times more than the $1 billion available.

InDOT to Rebuild Intersection to Accommodate South Shore Project

June 9, 2021

The Indiana Department of Transportation will rebuild a highway intersection in Gary to create space for a double tracking project by the South Shore Commuter rail line.

The work affects the junction of U.S. Routes 12 and 20 in Gary’s Miller neighborhood could begin as soon as Thursday.

The project is expected to be completed by September. It will allow for an expanded station and parking lots.

INDOT Sets Virtual Meeting on State Rail Plan

April 6, 2021

An online meeting will be conducted on May 18 by the Indiana Department of Transportation to discuss preliminary findings and recommendations for the state rail plan.

In a news release, INDOT said the plan provides guidance on the improvement of freight- and passenger-rail networks in the state, including intercity and commuter rail.

The report reflects INDOT’s vision, goals and objectives for the state’s rail system over the next 20 years, and summarizes rail projects that have been identified to help meet that vision.

Federal law requires an update of the plan every four years. This will be the third meeting INDOT has hosted pertaining to the rail plan.

INDOT Seeks Comment on Rail Plan Update

October 1, 2020

Public comment is being sought by the Indiana Department of Transportation as part of its updating of a state rail plan.

The update will review the future of passenger- and freight-rail service in the state.

The plan was last updated in 2017 and helps guide the agency in its efforts to improve freight- and passenger-rail systems in rural and urban areas throughout the state, INDOT officials said in a news release.

The agency plans to post on its website this fall an online survey available to the public.

A committee of rail industry representatives will meet in October and February and May 2021.

Interviews with select Indiana shippers and freight trade organizations will begin in October and extend through next spring.

INDOT said the process will be conducted via virtual meetings and telephone calls.

Federal law requires the state rail plans to be updated every four years.

City to Sue CSX Over Grade Crossing Project

July 25, 2020

An Indiana city plans to sue CSX and the Indiana Department of Transportation over plans to close a grade crossing for maintenance.

The city of Crawfordsville, which lies on two CSX routes and is served by Amtrak’s Cardinal, said it fears work planned for a crossing on East Market Street in tandem with a construction project on the parallel East Wabash Avenue will create safety issues by cutting the east-west traffic flow through town.

The city wants CSX to delay work on the crossing until the Wabash project is completed in mid August.

CSX plans to begin rebuilding the crossing this month. The city said the railroad has been unresponsive to its requests.

Groups Pushing for Indiana Rail Passenger Commission

February 1, 2020

Two Indiana-based passenger rail advocacy groups are pushing for the state to established a passenger rail commission.

The Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance and the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association said the proposed Indiana Passenger Rail Commission would focus on and coordinate the efforts of state advocacy and regional planning organizations to develop modern passenger-rail systems within Indiana.

The commission would include officials from the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.

The Indiana General Assembly would have to include the proposal to create the commission in its summer study sessions, which would allow the IPRA and NIPRA to have draft legislation ready to be introduced during a future General Assembly session.

Amtrak’s Hoosier State to Make Final Trips on Sunday

June 29, 2019

Amtrak’s Hoosier State boards passengers at Indianapolis Union Station on June 25 during its last week of operation.

The Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State will make it last trips on Sunday.

Amtrak is “suspending” the train effective July 1 because the State of Indiana declined to renew its funding.

Nos. 850 and 851 operate on the days that the Chicago-New York Cardinal does not operate.

From Indianapolis to Chicago, No. 50 runs on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. In the other direction No. 51 operates on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The Cardinal will continue to operate after the Hoosier State is discontinued.

The Hoosier State appeared to be doomed once Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb sent a budget request to the state legislature last February that omitted funding for the train, which was also funded by various online cities and counties.

Holcomb cited falling ridership for ending the funding.

The Hoosier State began in October 1980 as a demonstration route. It was discontinued in September 1995 as part of a major Amtrak service restructuring and retrenchment but reinstated in July 1998 in part to give Amtrak a more reliable means of ferrying equipment between Chicago and the Beech Grove shops in suburban Indianapolis.

The Hoosier State has skated on thin ice since 2013 when Indiana became the last state to agree to a funding plan mandated by the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 that required state and local governments to pay for Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles.

Initially the Indiana Department of Transportation chose Corridor Capitol, a Chicago-based rail passenger services development company, to manage and operate the Hoosier State.

However, INDOT severed ties with Corridor Capitol in November 2014 and Amtrak continued to operate Nos. 850 and 851 on a short-term contract.

INDOT said the following spring that the Hoosier State would end on April 1, 2015, due to regulations of the Federal Railroad Administration that would have required the state to act as a rail carrier, despite the state owning no tracks or trains.

INDOT appealed to the FRA and the Hoosier State continued to operate under

a short-term agreement.

In August 2015, INDOT reached a four-year agreement with Iowa Pacific and Amtrak to operate the train.

IP was to provide providing and maintain the rolling stock as well as provide food service and marketing.

Amtrak would provide ticketing services and train operating crews.

Iowa Pacific said in January 2017 it was withdrawing from the contract after INDOT refused to increase its financial compensation.

Starting March 1, 2017, the Hoosier State became an all Amtrak operation.

Efforts to emend the budget in the legislature to put back funding for the Hoosier State failed and Amtrak said in April that the train would be “suspended” on July 1.

At one point Amtrak said it has reached an agreement with CSX to reduce the running time and that the Hoosier State would be rescheduled in late April to provide better times at Indianapolis.

But those changes were never made and it is unclear if they will eventually be applied to the Cardinal.

The Hoosier State is thus poised to become the Amtrak train to be discontinued in several years and the first to end due to PRIAA requirements.

INDOT Taking Applications for Grade Crossing Projects

May 9, 2018

Applications are being accepted by the Indiana Department of Transportation for the LocalTrax matching grant program for grade crossing separations, closures and other safety enhancements at railroad intersections with local roads.

The program has $125 million in state matching funds for eligible projects. The deadline for applications is Aug. 31 with awards expected to be awarded soon thereafter.

Local Trax requires local governments to provide 20 percent of funding for land acquisition and construction. The state will provide the remaining 80 percent.

INDOT Starts Railroad Safety Project Fund

April 4, 2018

The Indiana Department of Transportation is making available $125 million in grants for “high-priority” railroad safety projects.

The grants are being channel through a new program, Local Trax, which will provide state matching funds for Indiana cities, towns and counties interested in pursuing grade separations, crossing closures and other safety enhancements at railroad grade crossings.

Grant applications will be accepted by INDOT between May and August. A local government agency must agree to provide 20 percent of the funding for the project with the state providing the other 80 percent.

INDOT plans to conduct public hearings throughout the state this month to answer questions about the new program.

Funding for Local Trax was appropriated in the state’s long-term road funding legislation signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb last year.