Porter County asked to contribute to high-speed rail project

2014-04-15T19:51:00Z 2014-04-15T23:53:06Z Porter County asked to contribute to high-speed rail projectBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | The Porter County Board of Commissioners are considering a request to contribute $20,000 toward the first phase of a high-speed passenger train service between Chicago and Columbus, Ohio.

The proposed line would include a stop in Valparaiso, which is looking at contributing $50,000 to the project, said Fred Lanahan, president of the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association.

Other communities along the line already have committed to the project, he said.

"This isn't a pie-in-the-sky pipe dream," Lanahan said.

The proposed line would create more than 12,000 construction jobs in addition to maintenance jobs and economic development along the line, he said.

The service, which would travel along an existing CSX-owned rail line, would offer up to 10 trains in either direction each day, Lanahan said.

The trains would reach speeds of 110 to 130 mph, said Richard Davis, a NIPRA transportation/management consultant.

A one-way trip would take less than four hours along the 300-mile route, he said

Fares from Valparaiso to Chicago will cost $19 for business class and $15 for economy class, Davis said.

Thomas Walls, a planner from Fort Wayne, which has committed funding to the project, said the rail service likely will be operated by a public/private partnership.

Evans said the commissioners will announce their decision on the funding request at their next meeting on May 6.

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