Rail advocates land funds for feasibility study
By Bob Caylor of The News-Sentinel
Friday, August 10, 2012 - 6:41 am
Proponents of a high-speed rail connection between Fort Wayne and Chicago have raised $80,000 for a study that will look at the business case for the railway.
Geoff Paddock, a longtime advocate for high-speed rail, and Fred Lanahan, president of the board of Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association, announced the grant Thursday at Baker Street Station downtown – the site where passengers last took trains out of Fort Wayne more than 20 years ago.
The study will be performed by Transportation Economics and Management Systems, a consultant in Frederick, Md. Paddock said he expects the study to be finished by the end of the year so it's ready for “Indiana's next governor.”
He said the study will concentrate on the economic-development advantages for Fort Wayne and other cities along the route to Chicago, ranging from employment created in upgrading rail lines to faster freight conveyance using the same lines to easier incorporate travel to and from Chicago.
Paddock said the new study – updating a similar study the same consultant did in 2002 – will provide a better estimate of the cost of upgrading rail lines to Chicago. He said estimates generally place the cost at $3 million-$5 million per mile – less than the cost of extending Interstate 69, which costs about $20 million per mile.