Amtrak backers are putting out an "all aboard" call for what's being billed as an Amtrak Summit to save the railroad's four-times a week Hoosier State service from Chicago to Indianapolis.
The summit will start at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday at the Faith Community Center, 5526 Ind. 26 E., Lafayette. The faith center is just east of the Interstate 65 interchange at Ind. 26. Registration begins at 8 a.m.
The summit will open with comments by state Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, who will speak about the economic impact of the Hoosier State on communities along its route. Elected officials from all along the route are also expected to attend.
The keynote speaker will be Tim Hoeffner, director of Michigan Department of Transportation's office of rail. Amtrak's senior director of state and local government affairs, Ray Lang, also will speak.
The Indiana Department of Transportation must make a decision soon on whether it wants to spend money on preserving the service because a federal subsidy for the route is ending. The state budget bill passed by the General Assembly contains a provision allowing INDOT to subsidize the train service if the agency deems fit.
The Hoosier State runs four days per week with Dyer and Rensselaer among its stops. In 2011, 2,439 people got on or off an Amtrak train at the Dyer platform and shelter at 913 Sheffield Ave., according to Amtrak's fact sheet for Indiana. In Rensselaer, 2,042 passengers used the station.
A shutdown of the Hoosier State also would affect station stops in Indiana at Lafayette, Crawfordsville and Indianapolis. Another train, the Cardinal, also stops at the same stations but only runs on the three days the Hoosier State does not. That train would continue to run three days a week.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/savethehoosierstate. or contact Greater Lafayette Commerce at (765) 742-4044.