LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – The major contributor to the Hoosier State Rail line is planning on pulling out of a deal to help fund the project.
“To say it’s in jeopardy would be an understatement,” West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said.
After agreeing to a one year deal with INDOT last year to keep the Hoosier State Line running, INDOT’s Bob Zier said the city of Indianapolis plans on calling it quits at the end of September.
“We will have a shortfall of $300,000 if Indianapolis goes forward with their plan not to participate in the program in the Hoosier State Line,” Zier said.
Last year, INDOT struck a deal with local communities to cover the costs. INDOT would pay 50 percent, leaving communities like Lafayette, West Lafayette and Tippecanoe County to cover half of the $223,000 a month needed to keep it running.
“If Indianapolis pulls out and INDOT or some other entity is not able to absorb their portion of this and it had to be divided among the current suppliers of the money, we would not be able to do that. We would have to pull out,” Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said.
If the plan goes through, Dennis said this may be it for the rail line.
“Without others along the route contributing, this could actually be sort of the death knell for that line,” Dennis said.
Earlier this month, the state announced it struck a deal with Corridor Capital LLC in Chicago to improve the line, increasing the overall operation costs.
“We are at a very critical point here, and there is a very good chance that the Hoosier State will not continue,” Roswarski said.
Zier said he is working with Corridor Capital to see if overall costs to run the line can be lowered. He said he is also working with Indianapolis to get them back on board with helping fund the line.