Most Fort Wayne leaders support Amtrak service idea

"Minneapolis: the train tracks" by Eli Duke, some rights reserved

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Network Indiana): Leaders in Fort Wayne want an Amtrak line through their city. On Tuesday night, the Fort Wayne City Council voted to endorse a proposal that would run a train from Chicago to Columbus, Ohio. Fort Wayne would be one of the stops.

Council member Geoff Paddock says adding Amtrak service to Fort Wayne would be expensive, but also help the city’s economy.

“I can see folks getting off a train here, getting on a Citilink bus, going to our airport, and catching a plane out of Fort Wayne – a lot of transportation connectivity with this plan. It will have more tourism and more transportation. This transportation benefits all people,” said Paddock.

A lot of money would be needed to make the project happen. 80% of the money would come from the federal government. The remaining 20%, roughly $150 million, would come from both the state and local level as well as private investment.

The proposal was approved 7-1 Tuesday night, but this was not a final vote on the project. The council will continue to discuss it in the coming weeks.

The one councilman who voted “no” on the proposal was Jason Arp. He represents the 4th district. He says people in Chicago need an “L” train, but Fort Wayne doesn’t have that problem. Arp also pointed to recent activity from the South Shore Line between Millennium Station in downtown Chicago and the South Bend International Airport in South Bend.

“They’ve spent over a billion dollars on the South Shore Line. During that time period, the South Shore Line has actually reduced by 10%. That is through the year ending in 2019, so that wasn’t because of COVID. If you’re doing business with someone in Chicago, it’s probably easier to hop on a Zoom call rather than hop on a car or even a train,” said Arp.

Arp is also concerned that federal spending on a train system will lead to the demolition of small businesses.

“We’ve seen that happen in Hammond and other areas of northwest Indiana,” said Arp.

1 COMMENT

  1. Unfortunately, Jason Arp has no idea what he’s talking about. That’s the only way somebody could confuse a big-city mass-transit service and regional intercity rail. As for the downturn in ridership on the South Shore, that’s what the construction program is meant to mitigate; when completed, will allow trains to operate more quickly, more frequently, and more reliably, driving an increase in ridership. As for ‘demolition of small businesses’, that is complete nonsense. Fort Wayne already has grade-separated lines through the city, and even has the former Amtrak station still in place, ready to be refurbished and reused. There is no conceivable reason to demolish anything.

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