High-Speed Rail proposal to go before Fort Wayne City Council

A proposal to take advantage of federal money to bring high-speed rail to Fort Wayne will go...
A proposal to take advantage of federal money to bring high-speed rail to Fort Wayne will go before Fort Wayne City Council Tuesday.(Staff)
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 3:51 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Fort Wayne City Councilman Geoff Paddock (D) 5th District, is planning to put forward a proposal to take advantage of billions of dollars available for the advancement of high-speed rail in Fort Wayne.

Paddock, who is a member of the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association (NIPRA), says there are approximately $36 billion dollars of federal funds available for passenger rail upgrades across the United States through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.

NIPRA is requesting that the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation, Mike Smith, and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) work with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the U.S. Department of Transportation to apply for 80% of the proposed money to make the infrastructure improvements, with the other 20% to come from the state. The money would be used to improve 150 miles in Northern Indiana, or about $750 to $800 million.

Paddock says an environmental impact study was done in 2014 when the Fort Wayne City Council unanimously supported it.

Paddock says the advantages of having high-speed rail in Fort Wayne would include job creation with the Whitley County Steel Dynamics plant being a producer of rail for passenger and freight lines.

The Midwest Rail Initiative and NIPRA have identified potential passenger rail stops in Fort Wayne, Warsaw, Plymouth, Valparaiso, and the Gary Regional Airport. Amtrack has also expressed interest in the Chicago to Fort Wayne to Columbus, Ohio route.

Fort Wayne City Council will hear the proposal tonight and will likely vote on the proposal at the next city council meeting on August 3.

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