- Associated Press - Monday, May 5, 2014

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) - The Indiana Department of Transportation has received four proposals to provide services for the Hoosier State Amtrak route between Chicago and Indianapolis, the agency announced Monday.

Bidders include Iowa Pacific Holdings Inc., which operates specialty passenger railroads including the Pullman Rail Journeys between Chicago and New Orleans, The (Munster) Times reported (http://bit.ly/RhVZa9 ). The other bidders were Corridor Capital LLC of Los Angeles; Railmark Holdings Inc. of Wixom, Michigan; and a partnership between Herzog Transit Services Inc. of Irving, Texas, and Passenger Transportation Specialists Inc. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Amtrak previously submitted its own proposal for 2014-2015, INDOT said.

INDOT hopes to select a finalist by this summer and begin negotiations that could lead to a public-private partnership, agency spokesman Will Wingfield said. The state transportation department asked last month for proposals for services including operating the train route in its entirety or providing services such as Wi-Fi or food and beverage. The agency did not divulge the contents of the proposals.

The Hoosier State operates four days each week. Another Amtrak train operates on the same route three days per week and proceeds on from Indianapolis.

INDOT and seven local governments are paying a $2.7 million subsidy to Amtrak to keep the Hoosier State running through this fall. That subsidy came about after federal support of certain Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles ended.

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Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com