Commissioners Make Informal Agreement To Help Fund High-Speed Rail Study (VIDEO)

By Ian Hoover - 21Alive

February 8, 2014 Updated Feb 8, 2014 at 7:46 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- The Allen County Commissioners have made an informal agreement to help fund a high-speed rail study that would see Fort Wayne linked with Chicago and Columbus.

At their weekly meeting yesterday, the Allen County Commissioners informally agreed to contribute $50,000 to the study and plan on making a formal vote in the upcoming weeks.

The Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association (NIPRA) has been trying to get the proper funding for a study to look into the possibility of building a high-speed railway that would link Columbus to Chicago, with Fort Wayne being one of the major stops on the way. The study is estimated to cost $2 Million dollars and the NIPRA has been seeking cities to help pay for half of that cost.

The idea of a high-speed passenger rail system in Fort Wayne goes back as far as 1990, when the last passenger train left the Baker St. station. The proposed Chicago to Columbus project would see travel times between Fort Wayne and Chicago clock-in at under 2 hours. Proponents of the project estimate that the rail system would bring around 5,000 jobs to the Midwest and between $30-$40 Million worth of annual income for our area.

Back in December, the Fort Wayne City Council made an informal commitment to contribute $200,000 to the study. A formal vote on that spending measure in the council is thought to be coming next Tuesday. However, no official agenda has been set for the meeting as of Saturday.

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