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Firm Attorneys Assist Indiana DOT in Reconfiguring Hoosier State Train Service

On August 1, 2015, the Indiana Department of Transportation ("INDOT") announced a restructured passenger rail service from Chicago, IL to Indianapolis, IN.  The new Hoosier State train service, which runs four days a week, will be jointly operated by Amtrak and Iowa Pacific Holdings, LLC pursuant to long-term agreements with INDOT, the service’s funder.  Amtrak will operate the trains, working with host railroads, providing train and engine crews, and managing reservations and ticketing.  Iowa Pacific will serve a new role providing the train equipment, train maintenance, food service and marketing for the Hoosier State.  Amtrak previously operated the service itself on behalf of the State.  The restructuring deal is one of the first in the country to be negotiated since the passage of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, which included a provision allowing states the discretion to contract with third parties for some or all of the services provided by Amtrak on state-supported passenger rail routes of less than 750 miles.  INDOT anticipates lower costs and better service as a result of the restructuring.  Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell played an integral role on behalf of INDOT in negotiating the agreements with the other parties and in working with the Federal Railroad Administration to clarify that agency’s regulatory jurisdiction over the new service configuration.