INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) — A bill introduced in the Indiana Statehouse aims to establish a passenger rail commission to ultimate develop rail service throughout Indiana, including Fort Wayne.
Indiana Senate Bill 9, authored by Sen. Dennis Kruse of Auburn and District 27 Sen. Jeff Raatz of Richmond, calls for the establishment of the Indiana Passenger Rail Commission that would help to promote and coordinate passenger rail service throughout Indiana.
According to the bill, the commission would be tasked with:
- facilitating development and implementation of improvements to intercity passenger rail service in Indiana and the Midwest,
- coordinating interaction among federal, state, and local elected officials relating to passenger rail issues,
- facilitating development and implementation of long range plans for modern passenger rail service in Indiana and the Midwest,
- coordinating public and private sectors at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure cooperation among the various entities having an interest in passenger rail service and promote Indiana interests regarding passenger rail service, and
- facilitating the efforts of the Indiana department of transportation and other transportation agencies involved in developing and implementing passenger rail service in Indiana and the Midwest.
Groups including the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association have been pushing for passenger rail through Fort Wayne for years. In 2016, the Federal Railroad Administration even approved a rail association-backed Alternatives Analysis and Public Input process for a proposed passenger rail line from Columbus, Ohio to Chicago – with a stop in Fort Wayne.
Still, rail service through Fort Wayne has not been achieved.
Senate Bill 9 was introduced on Jan. 7 and is currently pending in the Senate Homeland Security & Transportation Committee.