WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The city of West Lafayette is one step closer to helping support an Amtrak passenger line to the tune of $200,000 to keep it running. But not all city council members were fully in agreement.
The Indiana Department of Transportation along with several communities, including West Lafayette, Lafayette and Tippecanoe County, agreed to pick up some funding for the Hoosier State Line, which would otherwise have been discontinued by Amtrak in October. The local communities will be paying about half of the $223,000 a month needed to keep the Amtrak line open for one year. West Lafayette's portion is $200,000 or about $16,000 a month in 2014.
Mayor John Dennis said the money will also give communities like West Lafayette the ability to have a strong say with how to improve the service. But Councilman Steve Dietrich said he wants to make sure the city is spending money wisely and abstained from the vote.
"My big concern is, that's $200,000 from the city, I want to make sure that we have some insurance that it's going to get them over the top, that they're not going to be back next year asking for more money and we look at this in some sort of repetitious pattern," Dietrich said.
"We felt that it was critically important that we not only have a voice in trying to make it better, but that we have the attention of the folks that are in the position to actually improve it. That's the state of Indiana and Amtrak as a company and that's our intent," Dennis said.
He said payments will come from the city's EDIT budget that is used for economic development. The council will vote a second and final time on the funding at its December meeting.
Across the Wabash, Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski told News 18 that Lafayette will also use the EDIT budget to fund the line. That money was in the city's budget which council passed last month.
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