The Starke County Economic Development Foundation, Inc. has endorsed the proposed
Southern Route for High-Speed Passenger Rail Service in Northern Indiana.The Indiana Department of Transportation has recently applied for $2.82 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for a route from Chicago to Cleveland.The Northern Route, as proposed, would have stops in Gary, South Bend, Elkhart and Waterloo in Indiana, while the Southern Route would have stops in Gary, Plymouth, Warsaw, and Ft. Wayne.
Speeds along whichever route would be chosen would be up to 110 mph, and would allow a traveler from Plymouth to Chicago to arrive in a little over an hour with only one stop in Gary before arrival in Chicago.A station stop in Plymouth would be equipped to handle a bus route that would pick up passengers in the South Bend–Elkhart area and deliver them to Plymouth in time to catch one of several daily trains that would travel both east and west.
In adopting the resolution endorsing the Southern Route the SCEDF Board noted that previous studies have determined that the Southern Route would be faster, would cost less to build, and would attract more passengers thereby showing an increased fare box revenue than would the Northern Route.In addition, those studies have also shown that the benefits of such a route would far outweigh the costs as compared to the Northern Route.
“We see this possibility of having a station stop in Plymouth for high speed passenger rail service as benefitting the Starke County area for many reasons, including giving its residents and businesses a real alternative to driving or flying to both the Chicago and Cleveland areas, and also should be a great boon economically to the area,” said Charles W. Weaver, the Executive Director of SCEDF.Applications that have been filed total more than $57 million for this funding source which has about $8 billion in total funds to allocate.Awards are expected sometime this winter.